The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has launched its ‘Sugam Sanchar’ centralised Right of Way (RoW) portal to streamline and accelerate the application process, and to promote the development of telecommunications infrastructure nationwide. The portal provides a single interface for ISPs, Telecom Services Providers (TSPs) and Infrastructure Providers to apply for RoW approvals for installing infrastructure, such as laying fibre-optic cabling or erecting towers, to various agencies and authorities, including state and local bodies.
The DoT notes that the installation of digital infrastructure is currently being slowed due to inconsistency and uncertainty of policies and application processes. The Sugam Sanchar should address these challenges and provide ‘a robust mechanism’ to achieve the government’s ‘Broadband to All’ policy. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that although the government created a standardised framework for RoW applications and procedures when it updated the legislation for RoW in 2016, the implementation of the rules has been patchy and many states and Union Territories have not aligned their policies with those set out in the act.