The Department of Telecommunication has proposed a new Right of Way amendment under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (ITA) to help speed up works carried out by authorities and telcos while laying optic fiber lines or other internet lines, and to ease procurement of telecom and internet licenses.

In order to simplify the process of granting Right of Way (RoW) permission to acquire land, and to provide these permissions though a transparent single window clearance system, the DoT proposes three new amendments to formulate Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules 2016, under ITA 1885. These include:

-A pre-defined time period of 60 days for examining certain documents and procedures to grant RoW applications made by telecom companies and other internet providers. This period will be limited to telcos and ISPs only.

An administrative fee of Rs 25,000 for RoW applications made under the scheme. Reinstatement charges for any land or sites being procured based on existing land rates.

-A clause which states that an RoW application will be deemed to have received permission if the application is neither accepted or rejected within 60 days.

These amendments could turn out to be crucial to the abysmal state of broadband in India which registered just a 0.81% (around 130,000 connection) month-on-month growth in broadband connections during November 2015. The base had increased by 3.93% (around 610,000 connections) in April 2015. By November last year, India had a total of wired broadband connections of just 16.13 million, compared to 104 million wireless broadband connection at the same time.

India has lowest average internet speed in APAC: India’s average Internet speed is considered as the the slowest among countries in the Asia-Pacific region, that were part of the study conducted by content delivery network Akamai Technologies for its Q4 2015 State of the Internet report. India had the lowest average connection speed in the region at 2.8 Mbps followed by Philippines at 3.2 Mbps. Overall India’s average internet speed grew by 11% QoQ and 36% YoY, and ranked 114th globally.

Similar developments:

The amendment comes at a time when the central and state governments have been announcing some notable initiatives crucial to internet growth India.

-This month, the Union Cabinet had given a nod for the procurement of launch equipment and other services for the GSAT-11 spacecraft, which shall help provide broadband to rural areas through satellite-based VSAT technology.

-Last week, it was reported that Agartala would get 10 GB of additional internet bandwidth through an agreement between India’s state run telco BSNL and Bangladesh’s Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL).

-In early March, The Tamil Nadu Government had launched Arasu Fibre, an initiative to provide Internet services to all households through the Tail Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV).

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