Karnataka tower rules expected to hit firms in Bengaluru

13 Jun 2019

New regulations governing the installation of telecom towers in the state of Karnataka may lead to the removal of up to 90% of tower sites in the region’s capital, Bengaluru, the Economic Times reports. The local government issued the Karnataka Installation of New Telecommunication Infrastructure Towers Regulation Act, 2019 on 29 May this year and gave companies three months (i.e. until 29 August) to ensure that all existing towers comply with the new rules. The legislation regulates the placement of towers, prohibiting their installation within 50m of schools, hospitals or religious buildings, or within up to 200m of heritage or other religious sites. In addition, the act implements a new approval scheme that requires towercos to submit 15 documents to the local authorities for permission to install news sites, including location plans, ownership documents, lease agreements and occupancy certificates (OCs – a legal document issued by local government authorities to confirm that buildings over a certain size are habitable). The Economic Times notes that the last document may cause problems for operators, though, as approximately 90% of the roughly 10,000 tower sites in Bengaluru are installed on buildings that do not have OCs. Municipal authority Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has reportedly been slow to issue OCs, however – the authority was called before the Karnataka High Court earlier this year regarding the non-issuance of OCs between 2015-2017. The BBMP has threatened to tear down any towers that are not compliant, including those without the necessary OC, within the three-month timeframe.

India