Indian telcos call for fiber deployment fund

05 Mar 2019

Indian operators are calling for the establishment of a fund to help incentivize deployments of fiber across the country ahead of the introduction of 5G.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged the government to offer incentives including tax relief, rationalization and reduced red tape on investments in order to encourage the deployment of more fiber, the Economic Times reported.

The industry body believes a national policy should be established that would include the introduction of uniform and reasonable approval processes and right of way policies.

As part of the government's National Digital Communications Policy, the government is considering introducing incentives, and establishing a special purpose vehicle to grant low-interest loans to operators to fund network expansion.

The policy also calls for the introduction of a new National Fibre Authority to help meet operators' needs for fiber backhaul. The government aims to increase India's fiber footprint fivefold by 2022 to around 7.5 million route kilometers. According to the policy, less than a quarter of current telecom towers are connected to a fiber backbone.

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