New Portal to Strengthen, Quicken Telecom Infrastructure Development in India

The Minister for Communications, Electronics, and Information Technology (MietY) recently launched a portal for the centralised right of way (RoW) approvals called GatiShakti Sanchar. It enables telecom service providers (TSPs) and infrastructure providers (IPs) to apply for RoW permissions to lay down optical fibre cables and set up mobile towers. It is a collaborative institutional mechanism between central, state, and union territory governments, local bodies, and service providers.

As all applicants can apply at a single common website, the portal makes the process of RoW permissions and the subsequent approvals faster and more efficient. This, in turn, could help rollout 5G services more quickly, for which base transceiver stations (BTS) are installed at short intervals, an official at the launch event noted. The portal has a dashboard displaying state and district-wise pendency statuses. It also offers automated alerts on application processing updates and centralised help desk availability.

According to a press release, GatiShakti Sanchar was developed in line with the National Broadband Mission (NBM). Launched in 2019 by the Department of Telecommunication, NBM aims to facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services across the country, especially in rural and remote areas. To achieve these targets, the government plans to create an efficient digital communications infrastructure, and the GatiShakti Sanchar portal is a step in this direction.

The government expects the portal enhances the ease of doing business, which will lead to:

  • The fast laying of more optical fibre cables and accelerated fiberasation
  • Increased tower density, enhanced connectivity and improved quality of various telecom services
  • Increased fiberasation of telecom towers, ensuring better broadband speeds across the country.

Soon, the portal will be integrated with the central RoW portals of several other central ministries and departments, including defence, environment forests and climate change, road transport and highways, railways, petroleum and natural gas, housing and urban affairs, ports, shipping and waterways, and civil aviation.

Public and private partnerships are also a key factor in ensuring a strong and effective 5G ecosystem. Earlier this month, the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with an Indian product engineering and manufacturing company that works in 5G, networking and the Internet of Things (IoT). TEC is a technical arm of the Department of Telecommunications.

The MoU will facilitate registered start-ups, innovators, and MSMEs working in Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) to test their products at the company’s existing labs for interoperability among ORAN components from different vendors. Components include the (remote) radio unit (RRU/RU), distributed unit (DU), and central unit (CU). Start-ups can also use the labs for radio conformance, protocol, and interface testing. As OpenGov Asia reported, facilities will be offered at a subsidised tariff, which will be decided by both the MoU partners. The products offered for testing will be certified by TEC.

The testing certification will accelerate research, innovation, and domestic design and manufacturing. India aims to be a front-runner in 5G and ORAN, and this test certification ecosystem is expected to make the country a leading design, testing, and certification hub in Asia.

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