Expecting telcos to pay for access to residential buildings is a ‘wrong' mindset, says TRAI official

Unless quality of services are good, next generation 5G will not serve its purpose, TRAI Secretary said.

Minimum standards need to be developed for provision of telecom services within buildings and residential complexes and the "wrong" mindset that telcos should pay to get access for laying down infrastructure in housing complexes must change, a senior TRAI official said.

The growth of telecommunications, the underlying `critical infrastructure’, is closely linked to growth of every sector and the economy as a whole, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) Secretary, SK Gupta said.

"Different type of builders, their associations and RWAs (Resident Welfare Associations) have to be taught about the importance of telecom and (need to be) convinced that they have to change their mindset of penalising telecom service providers by asking (for) money from them to provide the services – in fact it is you (building residents) who require the services, not telecom service providers," Mr. Gupta said.

He was speaking at an interactive workshop `Connect India: In-building Solutions’ by industry body Broadband India Forum (BIF).

The pandemic and work-from-home culture has driven the need for seamless connectivity inside residential buildings and multiple data users within a family – from children taking online classes to professionals working remotely from home – have underlined the importance of good coverage in every nook and corner of the house, he noted.

He emphasised that unless quality of services are good, next generation 5G will not serve its purpose.

"…if you talk about the economy, you have to talk about the health of telecommunications. Economy will not grow unless you ensure that telecom grows fast, provides quality services," he said.

Minimum standards need to be evolved for telecom services to be provided in a building, he suggested. Unlike provisioning of other services, say utility, in case of telecom, service providers are asked to pay to provide the infrastructure.

"…why is it the other way round for telecom… when a service provider goes instead of support, they are being asked to pay more. That is a wrong notion which has to be changed," Mr. Gupta said.

Experts need to be roped in to suggest ways to ensure good telecom coverage in every portion of a residential unit.

"There is a need to prescribe and modify bylaws but also agencies like certifiers who can certify…people who will be able to give their services for designing networks in big societies and buildings. Such requirements are not just there for smart cities, but also existing societies. There are a lot of concerns…," Mr. Gupta said.

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