The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 29th November 2022,released its recommendations on “Use of Street Furniture for Small Cells and Aerial Fibre deployment”. With the objectives of developing cross sectoral framework which promotes sharing of street furniture infrastructure among various central, state and municipal authorities to develop state of the art 5G network, TRAI had simultaneously initiated pilots at Bhopal Smart City, GMR International Airport New Delhi, Deendayal Port Kandla and Namma Metro Bengaluru on use of street furniture for Small Cells and aerial fiber deployment.
Based on the consultations process and learning from these pilots, TRAI has prepared its comprehensive recommendations to the Government on conducive regulatory and policy framework to ensure successful and rapid rollout of small cells and optical fiber using street furniture in all smart cities, other cities and towns, ports, airports, metro rails, Industrial parks, and estates etc. The emphasis of the recommendations is on creating a regulatory framework which facilitates collaboration and participation among various departments, central and state agencies, local bodies and service providers.
The salient features of the recommendations on “Use of Street Furniture for small cell and aerial fibre deployment” are as follows:
- Enhance the scope of the proposed national portal to grant RoW permissions for all utility providers especially the power sector. A provision in the National RoW portal for accepting single application for bulk processing of sites for granting various permissions, including RoW and power connection.
- Amend RoW Rules to incorporate provision that in case more than one TSP makes requests to use the same SF and there is insufficient space available to meet the demands of all the requesting TSPs, they should coordinate among themselves to work out a technically feasible solution for shared use of the structure for the installation of equipment. In case the TSPs fail to reach an agreement, they should accept the decision of the CAA which may use a fair and reasonable method to select the TSP(s) who will use the SF.
- DoT should issue advisory guidelines to States for mandating CAAs that own/control traffic lights to share these assets with TSPs/IP-Is for deployment of small cells subject to structural stability.
- Enabling provisions or suitable terms and conditions shall be introduced in all telecom licenses and IP-I registration agreement prohibiting the TSPs/IP-I providers from entering into any exclusive contract or right of ways with infrastructure owners/CAAs or any other authority.
- The guidelines and registration agreement of IP-I providers should be modified to exclusively mention the term ‘poles’ in their scope of work.
- Low Power Base Transceiver Stations (LPBTS) should be defined as those BTS that radiate EIRP<=600 W. Such equipment/small cells should be exempted from seeking any kind of permission from any Authority except from the Street Furniture/building owning Agency at all places.
- Self-certification criteria for LPBTS should be relaxed to five years.