DoT seeks North-East States’ help to boost telecom, Net connectivity

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on November 23, 2017

Telecom and Internet connectivity in the North-East suffers from frequent disruptions owing to poor infrastructure and tough terrain.

In a bid to boost telecom and Internet services in the north-eastern region, the Department of Telecommunication has sought active co-operation from State Governments of Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

While the States have “agreed” to help DoT in acquiring land for setting up microwave (wireless telecommunication) towers, “free right of way” has been sought for laying optical fibre network.

Telecom and Internet connectivity in the North-East suffers from frequent disruptions owing to poor infrastructure and tough terrain.

BSNL and the Universal Service Obligation Fund of India (USoF) have been asked to provide mobile coverage in nearly 11,000 untapped villages in the region. The two would also set up and relocate, if necessary, some of the village public telephones. Financial details are to be worked out, while approvals are expected by December.

BSNL will complete on-going wireless system installations to ensure reliability in services in Arunachal and Mizoram.

Also discussed, in a meeting on September 19, was the usage of state electricity utilities for alternate routing of telecom traffic.

Right of Way

The issue of right of way came across as a point with Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Mizoram. The State has assured of issuing directions for granting right of way, while others have asked DoT to write to their state government seeking permission (to lay optic fibres).

“The issue of free right of way, along state highways, district roads and municipal bodies, panchayats and village councils, it was decided that a letter may be addressed…. so as to enable States to obtain the approval…,” the minutes of the meeting said.

Stabilising services

Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland have pointed out to the need of stabilising (telecom) services and improving the quality.

In Manipur for example, frequent landslides lead to disruption. For Meghalaya, it is improving the quality of service through installing village public telephones and extending coverage of mobile services.

The meeting also discussed suggestions for extending wireless network coverage through satellite and microwaves to the hill-top villages in Mizoram. Using renewable energy (to keep mobile towers operational) and leveraging cable operators’ network have been proposed.

Expanding 3G services in Nagaland from three to all 11 districts and ensuring Wi-Max (Wi-Fi) services in Tripura, subject to remittance from the State Government, has been sought. Orders for improving GSM coverage in Tripura have already been placed by BSNL.

Using electricity grids

Alternative use of State power utilities and transmission grids for carrying optical fibre infrastructure so as to provide telecom traffic routing facilities were also discussed. States have apparently agreed to co-operate with BSNL in this regard.

“On the issue of using electricity transmission lines of state electricity utilities for alternative routing of telecom traffic, the State Governments have agreed to ensure collaboration….,” the minutes recorded.


Published on October 02, 2013

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