Telecom infra operation, maintenance work running smoothly amid curfews: TAIPA

By: |
May 02, 2021 4:57 PM

Dua said that TAIPA is working closely with members to monitor safety and security of telecom personnel, assets, and movement of technicians, and overall maintenance of telecom infrastructure.

Filling the gaps in infrastructure and access will require large investments and competition. The exit of Vodaphone Idea will hurt both objectives.

Industry body TAIPA has said that essential telecom infrastructure operations and maintenance activities are by-and-large running smoothly amid pandemic-induced curfews and movement curbs across various states.

The telecom tower industry is better prepared to handle the work on ground as many processes and practices are already in place following last year’s nationwide lockdown.

The association had also reached out to the Centre and various states to address some of the issues early on, leading to timely action and outcomes, T R Dua, director-general, Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), told PTI.

“This time we are better prepared in so far as processes are concerned, and we took immediate timely action thinking COVID wave is likely to be more stronger,” he said.

Remote working and massive data requirements of people have led to 65,000 new towers coming up over the last one year, Dua said.

Asked if the recent surge in COVID cases will hit new tower installations to some extent, Dua said in his view while there could be a “little bit of slowdown in new installations” in the immediate short term, the momentum will pick up from May onwards with vaccination drive opening up to a larger population, and given that surge in data consumption will continue unabated.

Elaborating on the TAIPA’s outreach programme, Dua informed that the association had reached out to its members and various circle heads to ensure contingency planning measures were in place, and that a portal with dashboard tracking 8-9 key parameters including movement of people, availability of diesel, support needed and coercive actions, if any, is up-and-running to monitor on ground activities.

“Sporadic issues will keep coming but there has been continuous flow of information, so movement of technicians and field personnel has not been prohibited. Things are moving smoothly for now,” Dua said adding that the industry has not encountered major issues as it had faced last year in the immediate aftermath of the March 2020 lockdown.

Earlier, TAIPA had sought Telecom Department’s support to ensure round-the-clock availability of telecom connectivity as strict movement curbs and curfews were imposed across many states and UTs.

TAIPA had sought unrestricted movement of field staff and technicians for accessing telecom tower sites; availability of diesel for telecom tower sites; safety and security of telecom personnel/technicians by police authorities and law enforcement agencies in the states and UTs, among others.

Dua said that TAIPA is working closely with members to monitor safety and security of telecom personnel, assets, and movement of technicians, and overall maintenance of telecom infrastructure.

Various state governments have announced curfews and lockdowns to rein in the second wave of the pandemic, which has stretched the healthcare infrastructure of the country.

A record 3,689 daily COVID-19 fatalities pushed India’s death toll to 2,15,542, while the infection count reached to 1,95,57,457 with 3,92,488 more people being confirmed positive for the disease, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday morning.

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