Monday, August 7, 2017

Shadow-free Telecom Coverage

Conference with telecom operators at Camac Street on 7 Aug 2017
At IT&E Department today, we had a meeting of telecom service providers (Airtel, BSNL, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance Jio etc) and telecom tower providers (Indus Towers, American Towers, Tai etc) to move towards complete coverage of telecom services at every nook and corner of West Bengal. According to our estimates, about 263 administrative units / villages in the nine districts of Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong, Dakshin Dinajpur, Uttar Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia, Paschim Midnapore, Bankura etc.  are without telecom (mobile / internet) coverage throughout the state. I tried to understand what would make the service providers to extend service to these areas as well. We discussed several issues including formation of a telecom Right-of-Way Policy, possibility of an incentive framework, uniform fee structure and other factors to see if the coverage could be extended to these shadow zones. The operators talked of  a single window approval mechanism, the necessity of regular meetings of the district committees, and we agreed to hold state level quarterly reviews too. I also mentioned that use of Solar power with Lithium batteries could use DC output directly into the tower transmission equipment for optimum green solutions in many cases.

The operators also sought help in some miscellaneous issues (getting map from land department: I took it up through WhatsApp with Land Reforms Commissioner), cutting of fibre optics by other agencies etc.

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Anandabazar dt 7 August 2017

Ei Samay dt 7 August 2017

Telegraph Metro dt 7 August 2017

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