TRAI seeks inputs on telecom infrastructure sharing in urban spaces

TRAI released a consultation paper seeking feedback about telecom infrastructure sharing in commercial and residential complexes.


TRAI has released a consultation paper seeking feedback about telecom infrastructure sharing in commercial and residential complexes. TRAI intends to regulate the deployment of telecom infrastructure in urban spaces, including hotels, malls, airports and apartment complexes. The problem identified by TRAI is that developers of urban projects and builders enter into agreements with particular telecom service providers, and install the infrastructure as per their demands and needs.

TRAI wants to ensure that users of telecom services in these spaces, including wireless broadband services, have ample choice available to choose the best plans and providers as per their requirements. An artificial barrier is created for providers competing to deliver their service in the same places as the ones where telecom service providers have entered into agreements with builders.

Another problem is that owners and associations of commercial complexes may charge absurd rates for allowing telecom service providers to cover their building. As there is no regulation, owners of airports or malls are free to charge whatever they please, and the telecom service providers are forced to get into agreements with these owners if they want their customers to enjoy uninterrupted coverage. Additionally, for residential complexes, telecom service providers have to negotiate with each residents association.

The new consultation paper aims to solve these problems by proposing regulations for deploying of telecom infrastructure in urban complexes. Another approach is to ensure that already existing infrastructure is shared by all telecom service providers, so that there are no redundant systems in place, and the cost of providing service to a new area is reduced. Sharing may be encouraged, or sharing of infrastructure may even be made mandatory. TRAI has sought feedback for policy or intervention guidelines on these matters.

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