According to GSMA, the continued challenges in rolling out telecom infrastructure are impacting the ease of doing business while government seeks to connect 600,000 villages in 1,000 days.

To this end, the association had written to the telecom secretary. In its letter dated September 22, 2020, to telecom secretary, GSMA said that despite the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) 2016 right of way (RoW) rules, there remain multiple challenges at the ground level in rolling out infrastructure. Such obstacles, directly affect the ease of doing business, while adding substantial costs and durations to the service providers.

In this regard, GSMA has also submitted its findings to the government in order to address the existing RoW challenges. The global body has sought a single-window clearance with deemed approval requiring states and Union Territories to uniformly implement the centralised system. It has sought to replace various RoW charges with a single one-time charge to recover the direct cost of restoration and reinstatement. Further it added that the microwave spectrum allocation to support backhaul would be urgently needed. GSMA believes that state governments should facilitate RoW to roll out digital infrastructure.

Further, GSMA added that National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018 also focuses on expanding telecom infrastructure which would be critical for realisation of the national vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.