Speaking at a recent industry event, Gopal Vittal, CEO, Bharti Airtel, asserted that government should lease out E-band backhaul spectrum with 5G radiowaves to telcos. Further, he cautioned that not doing so could put the 5G era in plight.

Vittal also flagged issues on Right of Way (RoW), Services Level Agreement (SLAs) around BharatNet, as well as challenges related to state-level approvals and subsidy payouts in rural connectivity projects under Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) programme, and sought speedy redressal of such impediments.

The CEO stressed on backhaul as being essential for broadband infrastructure. In addition, he highlighted some impediments faced by the industry regarding fibre and wireless backhauls.

Vittal also proposed the idea of taking a particular spectrum band and allocating the same with stringent obligations to connect the entire country. This, as per Vittal, should be carried out free of cost so that telcos invest the money in the access and the capital expenditure (capex) rather than in spectrum.

Commenting on the challenges, the CEO highlighted complex approval procedures and delayed subsidies to reach receiver as the two stumbling stone on the path. Vittal also batted for open access policy for power so companies can invest in greening of the towers. He also pushed for access to industrial rates of power for a sector like telecom which has become essential infrastructure.