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Telecom Department Puts Forth Rules to Maintain Overhead Optical Fibre Cables

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Govt of India, has amended the Indian Telegraph Right of Way (RoW) Rules (November 2016) by clearly outlining a framework regarding laying of overhead optical fibre cables (OFCs).

Need for Amendment in RoW-2016 Rules and Amendments Made

The RoW-2016 rules had only guidelines regarding laying of underground optical fibre cables alongwith other cables like electrical, telecom etc. There was no clear guideline stated for overhead OFCs. The increasing 5G broadband network in the country has made it necessary that there be clear guidelines on laying of overhead cables and charges the service provider had to pay to local bodies.

The recent amendment by the telecom department recommends a one-time compensation of ₹ 1,000 per Kilometre to the local governing body like Municipal Corporations etc. for the laying of overhead OFC lines. In addition, the paperwork for the Right of Way (RoW) application has been made simpler than before.

It also states that there will be no other fee than the necessary administrative fees and restoration charges to establish overhead cables, maintain them, transfer or even re-position them.

As per DoT, the amendments will provide much-needed ease in the RoW-related permissions and make the procedure much simpler and convenient.

Earlier, the RoW Rules had covered only the underground OFCs and the mobile towers.

Convenience the New RoW Rules will Offer for Overhead Optical Fibre Laying

The new amendments in RoW rules for overhead optical fibre cable laying provide desired clarity. This will go a long way in creating the necessary infrastructure to cater for forthcoming 5G rollouts in India.

In a press statement given on the occasion, Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA) stated “Optical fibre is a fundamental and structural part of both mobile and fixed broadband networks. Faster rollout of fibre is important for backhauling a large amount of data at high throughput, improving reliability, and reducing latency”. Also, the consistent fiberisation of telecom networks all over the country is crucial for attaining India’s target of universal broadband connectivity at 50Mbps to every citizen in India.