They stated that these guidelines, compiled by the DoT after receiving inputs from all stakeholders, will go a long way in increasing the tele-density (for both voice and data) in the States where the penetration of mobile communications are low and will help stabilize the growth of this vital infrastructure sector in the country.
In a joint statement, the industry bodies, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) and Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), said that the new guidelines are welcome as its implementation will ensure the much needed industry growth required to serve the customers.
DoT had recently issued the new guidelines to all State Governments to enable them to develop a "unified approach" on the subject of installation of telecom towers.
The industry expressed its appreciation towards the fact that the Department has already advised the Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs to follow these guidelines in order to bring uniformity in processing applications for mobile tower installations across the country.
The Industry bodies further appreciated the fact that the guidelines call for "avoiding disruption in mobile communications, as it is an essential service".
Thus, sealing of BTS towers/disconnection of electricity may not be resorted to without the consent of the respective TERM cells of DoT in respect of EMF concerns or issues.
The guidelines further mandate that the TERM cell is the nodal agency to address all technical issues related to electro-magnetic radiation and its emission levels, wireless frequency allocations, etc.
These guidelines will help clear all misconceptions with regard to the EMF radiations and alleged health hazards.
"The new guidelines will clarify the roles of various State and Central bodies in the administration of this important sector and enabling trouble free installation and functioning of telecom infrastructure," said Rajan S Mathews, Director General of COAI.
Ashok Sud, Secretary General of AUSPI, remarked, "We sincerely hope that all the State Governments, Union Territories, Municipalities and Local Bodies will recognize the stellar work done by the Department of Telecom, and whole - heartedly and uniformly adopt the new guidelines across the country."
TAIPA Director General Umang Das said, "These guidelines issued by the Department will help in facilitating the State and local bodies in formulating their policies for creation of this critical infrastructure in their jurisdictions and avoid undue interference and multiple frameworks from such authorities so as to achieve the enshrined objectives of National Telecom Policy."
As per guidelines, the EMF emission levels from mobile towers have been based on strict norms and are 1/10th of international norms set by ICNIRP.
Power Density Limit has been set to 0.45 watt/ m2 for 900 MHz, 0.9 watt/ m2 for 1800 MHz and 1.0 watt/m2 for 2100 MHz frequency bands respectively based on technology requirements of 2G, 3G and 4G. Markedly, the guidelines do not stipulate any exclusion zones, like schools, hospitals or residential areas, where towers may not be installed or located.
The industry is glad that one of its key demands of a "Single Window Clearance" process has been met in order to ensure faster processing and development.
The guidelines encourage a nominal one-time fee, single window clearance, and electricity connection on priority for mobile towers.
They also recommend "a nominal One time Administrative Fee" to be levied for processing of all applications which is encouraging for the industry as it affirms that the industry is no longer viewed as a cash cow for the exchequer.
The Government's plans to educate people on EMF emissions from mobile towers through educational programs and publications are also a welcome step for the industry.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) was constituted in 1995 as a registered, non-governmental society dedicated to the advancement of communication, particularly modern communication through Cellular Mobile Telephone Services.
Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI), constituted in the year 1997 is the representative industry body of Unified Access Service Licensees providing CDMA and GSM Mobile Services, Fixed Line Services as well as Value Added Services throughout the length and breadth of the country.
As a critical member of the wireless telecom ecosystem, the key players for Telecom Infrastructure providers have come together to form a representative industry body, Towers and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA).
--IBNS (Posted on 19-08-2013)