As per Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), maintaining telecom networks has become critical as data consumption has surged 30 per cent with businesses switching to work-from-home amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

To this end, the industry body highlighted that there is an urgent need for states to align their policies with centre’s right of way (RoW) rules.

In this regard, TAIPA has written to the telecom secretary, and chief secretary of states, emphasizing the importance of telecom connectivity for several essential services and applications amid the nationwide lockdown.

As per, T R Dua, director general, TAIPA, “To keep the data usage and smooth functioning of telecom services 24/7, the telecom sector needs critical robust infrastructure. With more than three years gone, only 16 states out of 36 states/ union territories (UT) have broadly aligned their policy with RoW policy 2016.”

Further, he added that policy anomaly in the states have deprived the public of seamless network and internet connectivity and would further impede roll-out of new technologies like 5G, in the states.

Metropolitan cities including Hyderabad and Bengaluru have already seen cellular network data consumption increase by 70 per cent since the lockdown began, TAIPA mentioned. The rise in adoption of e-services, over-the-top (OTT) platforms, e-commerce and e-governance etc. has led to upsurge in mobile and internet traffic by more than 30 per cent during the lockdown.