Slow internet and a spike in call drops in the national capital are likely as the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) has sealed 566 mobile towers in the city, Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) said on Tuesday.
The towers have been sealed “despite the fee deposit of 48 crore rupees lying with municipal corporations,” TAIFA said in a statement.
At present, there are 11,500 mobile towers in Delhi. The MCD move impacts the overall ease of doing business and addressing the growing data needs of customers.
“Suo-moto coercive actions on sealing the mobile towers leads to solemn issues such as 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,” TAIPA Director General Tilak Raj Dua said.
MCD and telecom sector players have been at loggerheads over fee to be charged from tower companies for installing and operating sites.
The telecom tower industry has held numerous meetings with the MCD to discuss the implementation of mediation settlement and the issues industry have been facing for more than eight years now, Dua said.
The Delhi tower policy, 2010, was challenged by the telecom industry in Delhi High Court imposing issues such as exorbitant permission fee of Rs 5 lakh for 5 years and Rs 1 lakh per service provider for sharing and restriction on locations.
A mediation settlement on reference of Delhi High Court was signed by the industry with the municipal corporations in January 2017 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 down the line with the municipal corporations and have resulted into the sealing of critical infrastructure amounting to Rs 113 crores approximately and no new permissions have been processed for the installation of telecom infrastructure,” the statement said.
All the municipal commissioners have issued directions for the implementation of mediation settlement agreement, however representatives of various departments failed to implement the same, TAIFA stated.
“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 the high time that the telecom infrastructure needs to be treated as the essential critical infrastructure like others such as Roads, Transport and water supplies etc,” Dua said.
A comprehensive mobile tower policy is imperative to make the city a world-class super-fast internet metropolitan, he added.
(With inputs from agencies)