The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has appreciated the notification of RoW policy on Urban Municipal Corporation by the government of Karnataka. These bye-laws are applicable to all city areas, municipal councils, town municipal councils, town panchayats and areas under the jurisdiction of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and includes telecom towers and OFC (aerial and underground).

As per the policy, one-time fee to meet administrative expenses for the installation of telecom tower and aerial OFC deployment is Rs 10 thousand per application (tower and aerial OFC), whereas for the deployment of optical fibre is Rs 1 thousand per kilometre OFC (underground) and for the deployment of cell on wheel (CoW) (micro site/small cell, IBS) is Rs 2 thousand per application. The policy encourages the deployment of tower, underground OFC, aerial OFC, CoW, micro site, small cell, IBS, etc. that are essential to improve the digital connectivity across Urban Municipal Corporation and other areas of Karnataka. The policy also supports the regularisation of the existing telecom infrastructure that will contribute towards the GDP growth of the state.

This RoW policy will help to meet the National Broadband Mission, increase the broadband penetration, provide internet and broadband services to the citizens and improve the connectivity and capacity. Hence, this will improve the quality of the mobile services, and develop a robust telecom/digital infrastructure in the state.

The telecom industry has emerged as a saviour for many during the pandemic. With telecom reforms, this announcement will become the base for digital connectivity in the state and will go a long way in building a robust infrastructure. As the country creates pathways for 5G and the following digital revolution, it is important to understand that seamless connectivity is the roadmap to ‘digital India’ vision.

Appreciating the move by the Karnataka government, Lt. Gen. Dr. SP Kochhar, director general, COAI, said, “We thank the state government of Karnataka for notifying RoW Policy on Urban Municipal Corporation. Additionally, we urge the state government to expedite implementation of the same at all levels. This will help in the installation of mobile towers and deployment of OFC across the state. It will facilitate the speedy roll-out of telecom infrastructure while boosting the direct and indirect jobs associated with the roll-out of telecom infrastructure across the state. We will be working closely with the government of Karnataka to make Karnataka digitally advanced and create a digitally connected ecosystem.”