As per Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), 566 mobile towers have been sealed and 1,150 awaits permission from municipal corporations in Delhi.
In Delhi, 1,150 mobile tower sites are ready for deployment however awaits permissions from municipal corporations whereas 566 mobile towers are sealed despite depositing Rs. 48 crore as fees. This is affecting the development of creating a robust telecom infrastructure and addressing the growing data needs of customers.
The Delhi tower policy, 2010 was challenged by the telecom industry in Delhi High Court with respect to exorbitant permission fee of Rs. 5 lakhs for 5 years and Rs. 1 lakh per service provider for sharing and restriction on locations etc.
In January 2017, Delhi High Court referred mediation settlement which was signed by the industry with the municipal corporations offering provisions such as deemed approval for 30 days, appointment of nodal officers, documentation as per DoT guidelines, 2013 and fee part was also renegotiated to Rs. 1 lakh to 2 lakhs and revised guidelines to be issued in line with DoT advisory guidelines, 2013. However, even after a year, the mediation settlement has still not been implemented.
Speaking on the issue, Tilak Raj Dua, Director General, TAIPA said, “Non-implementation of mediation settlement and lack of comprehensive tower policy in Delhi is creating knotty situations for the development of a robust telecom infrastructure. It is high time that the telecom infrastructure need to be treated as the essential critical infrastructure like others such as roads, transport and water supplies etc. as the formation of Digital India solely depends upon the enhanced telecom infrastructure.”
“These avoidable delays in implementation of policies, notification of policies and suo-moto coercive actions on sealing the mobile towers leads to slow internet speed, network congestion and call drops etc. The overall regressive act impacts the ease of doing business and forms a misconception that the industry is not making adequate investments. There is an immediate need to notify a comprehensive mobile tower policy for enabling speedy installation of telecom infrastructure in Delhi in order to make city a world class super-fast internet metropolitan,” added Dua.
Presently, Delhi has 11,500 mobile towers and caters to more than 58 million wireless subscribers. These towers are shared among operators with the average tenancy ratio of 2.2. It is imperative to mention that Delhi needs to double the tower count in the near future to address the growing need of data.