India to expedite mobile tower installations at airports

The Indian government intervened to issue guidelines addressing the problems related to installing mobile phone towers in airports and around them in order to ease up the process. 

The letter was written by Senior Deputy Chief Wireless Adviser at the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), LD Meghwal, and marked to the Secretaries-General of the States and Union Territories where such approvals are lacking the Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.   

As such, the letter stated: “The permit must have the following condition: ‘The physical construction of the tower must not begin until the 16th day after the issuance of the permit’.”  

The government put some measures to simplify the process of approval from the Standing Advisory Committee on Radio Frequency Allocations (SACFA) for the installation of telecommunication towers, including self-declaration-based, automated timed approvals.  

In addition, the telecom reforms package that was implied on September 15 aims to simplify the Standing Advisory Committee on Radio Frequency Allocations (SACFA) clearance process for installing towers through measures such as self-declaration-based, automated time-bound approvals of SACFA cases, including integration of AAI and JCES systems with SaralSanchar Portal of DoT.  

Meghwal said that the AAI had added a total of 121 non-licensed state-government-controlled airports in 2015 to the protection list, which has now been reduced to 97 airports, according to the report.  

He added: “In 2015, AAI added 121 (now 97) unlicensed state-controlled airports to the protection list,” Meghwal said. 

But they show that they are not able to deal with the pending cases concerning these airports. The 97 airports are spread across 23 states or UTs, he noted. “The delay in obtaining approvals greatly affects the roll-out and expansion of telecommunications networks, and it affects the proliferation of broadband, especially in rural and underserved areas,” he said.  

 While the authority hasn’t effectively managed the pending cases with these airports, it is to be known that the airports on the protection list are spread across 23 states and union territories (UTs) in India.  

It is worth mentioning that every telecom operator requires approval from SACFA regarding the height and location of any tower it plans to install anywhere.   

“The statutes are a welcome step and are likely to give a much-needed boost to the broadband proliferation in the state and will create jobs, lead to increased GDP and enabling more services – such as online education, e-commerce, e-health, etc. and improve the state’s economy. welfare, “said Tilak Raj Dua, DIPA CEO.