RoW clearances to speed up with new portal, Telecom News, ET Telecom

RoW approvals to accelerate with new portalNew Delhi: Right of Way (RoW), which used to take months to get approved, is likely to be reduced by almost a fifth due to a new centralized Gati Shakti Sanchar portal, which will also get legal backing.

The portal will help enable faster rollout of 5G networks in India by reducing the time it takes telecommunications companies to get permits to lay optical fiber cables, set up cellular towers and the like. All 36 states and union areas will be part of the centralized portal in December.

Telecommunications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters that the portal will be empowered with legal backing in the future, which will bring clarity and accountability to the process of obtaining RoW approvals.

The centralized portal is expected to reduce the time to obtain RoW approvals from telecommunications companies by one-fifth. Where previously it took about 100 days to obtain RoW approvals, the portal will reduce the time to 22 days, the minister said. He also said the portal will be integrated with central RoW portals for other central ministries and departments responsible for infrastructure projects.

“Timely disposal of RoW applications from various service and infrastructure providers will enable rapid infrastructure creation, which would enable timely deployment of 5G networks.” said the Minister during the inauguration.

The portal, built by Madhya Pradesh State Electronics Development Corporation, also includes a dashboard for tracking applications and a helpline number for telecommunications companies.

In the future, the minister said the portal will be further empowered with legal backing that will allow local bodies to provide faster RoW approvals, clarify the required fees and documents and bring accountability to stakeholders.

This is conditional on the auctions taking place as proposed in June-July and the telecommunications companies rolling out their services at the end of the calendar, experts said.

The portal has currently embarked on 34 states and union territories and has already received more than 50,000 RoW applications, of which about 28,000 have been approved. The Gati Shakti Sanchar Portal is an important step towards creating a robust mechanism to achieve the “Broadband for All” goal, as envisaged in the National Digital Communication Policy, 2018, “said Lieutenant General Dr. SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI , and appreciated the effort.

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