Telcos have urged the government to speed up right of way (RoW) clearances to scale up fibre-based home broadband connectivity across the country amid Covid-19 crisis. The telcos called on the government to facilitate installation of in-building broadband gear such as distributed antennae systems (DAS) and small cells across gated communities to boost fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity.

To this end, the telecom companies have sought intervention of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), to scotch any resistance from resident welfare associations (RWAs) on grounds that telecom/internet connectivity has been categorised as an essential utility service during the nationwide lockdown.

Additionally, telcos have also urged the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to speed up the crucial clearance process for setting up mobile towers to help in faster deployment of networks.

Meanwhile, telcos and technology companies have also requested the DoT and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to expedite measures to consolidate Covid-19-tracker government apps under Aarogya Setu. At present, there are over 40 such government apps.

The companies have suggested bringing these apps under `Aarogya Setu’ to reduce bandwidth usage, sharpen the pandemic tracking process, make matters simpler and ensure uniform dissemination of Covid19-related information.

Further, they have also urged the government to widen the scope and power of the Aarogya Setu app, which runs on both 3G and 4G networks. This can be done by adding functionalities such as virtual meetings, document management, data communications and productivity boosters.

The proposals were sent to the secretaries of the DoT and MeitY through the FICCI platform.