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Now, Power Grid eyes telecom tower biz

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Summary15 per cent of transmission towers can be used for telecom biz, says Power Grid.

Eyeing new business, country's largest transmission utility Power Grid Corporation today said 10-15 per cent of its transmission towers could be leased out for setting up telecom towers.

This it said will boost its bottomline without undertaking any new investment.

"Our 10 to 15 per cent of transmission towers out of approximately 1,00,000 towers in the country can be used for setting up telecom towers," Power Grid, Director (Operations), RN Nayak told reporters here

As part of its diversification plans, Power Grid in the month of September this year had decided to lease out its transmission infrastructure to independent tower firms and telecommunication service providers.

The company aimed to leverage its transmission towers set up in remote and rural areas to provide telecommunication services in these areas by co-locating wireless antennas on its tower infrastructure.

It hired KPMG as consultant to find out the financial feasibility of the project.

"The KPMG found 10-15 per cent of its towers can be used for this new venture and this will boost our profits without making new investments," he observed.

Power Grid also floated tenders for the selection of telecom tower infrastructure providers for utilizing its transmission towers in the state of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

"We have invited tenders for about 1,500 towers set up in these states and the last date for submission tenders is in December," he said.

Power Grid had already leased a project on pilot basis in Gangtok which had been in operation for over a year.

Power Grid is already leasing bandwidth on its network to over 70 customers including Bharti Airtel, BSNL, Dishnet Wireless and Tata Communications.

The utility earns 2 per cent of its total revenue from telecom business, said Nayak.

Power Grid would also lay transmission lines for Punjab's Transmission Utility TRANSCO which will involve capital expenditure of Rs. 1,300 crore and is expected to be completed by 2012.

"We will lay transmission lines of 400 KV covering 600 km in Punjab," said another official of Power Grid.

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