Trai chief calls for creating shareable telecom infra in buildings

By: |
September 22, 2020 5:47 PM

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R S Sharma said that contrary to general perception that availability of mobile towers will solve all problems, in-building connectivity still remains a challenge.

Thus, there was a short transfer of UAL to the USO fund amounting to Rs 2,123 crore.Thus, there was a short transfer of UAL to the USO fund amounting to Rs 2,123 crore.

Making provisions for telecom comes as an afterthought post construction of buildings – unlike power, water and other utilities – leading to connectivity issues and RWAs must allow all players to create shareable infrastructure for easy plug and play, a top TRAI official said on Tuesday.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R S Sharma said that contrary to general perception that availability of mobile towers will solve all problems, in-building connectivity still remains a challenge.

He was speaking at a virtual event on release of two papers by TRAI one of which is titled ‘Quest for a good quality network inside multi-storey residential apartments’ highlights that concerns around provision of good quality of service inside buildings still remains.

“People tend to think, once the tower comes, everything will work…This is a myth…tall buildings come up and it is after that we think about connectivity,” Sharma said citing cases where connectivity varies even from one room to an adjacent room.

The problem is not specific only to multi-storey residential buildings but also hospitals, malls and office building in semi-urban areas, he said and added that the only solution in the long run is fibre connectivity.

“I think people traditionally think of power, water and cable initially…when buildings are constructed all other provisions are made but then they don’t provide for broadband connectivity, voice and data connectivity, because the mindset is that these will anyway work due to mobile towers,” Sharma said calling for the need of creation of robust infrastructure.

The realisation of the fact that merely having adequate number of towers will not create good and robust connectivity, is the first step towards understanding the problem at hand, he pointed out.

“Solutions, while they may be technical, will come through policy and practice change. Policy and practice change is absolutely essential in order to solve these problems,” he said. Resident welfare associations (RWAs), at times, ask for money to give access to operators thinking that additional funds would benefit residents but that is a “perverse way of looking at things”, Sharma said.

“Residents will benefit when their connectivity needs are met,” Sharma emphasised. Hence, it is in the interest of RWA to ensure that every service provider gets access to buildings, he said adding that all players must be allowed to create shareable infrastructure for an easy plug and play.

TRAI on Tuesday released two papers – one on ‘smart cities in India: Framework for ICT Infrastructure’ and the other a monograph on ‘Quest for a good quality network inside multi-storey residential apartments’.

TRAI conducted detailed study on the reasons for inadequate quality of service inside buildings, according to a release. TRAI’s research highlighted poor connectivity even in “elite buildings”.

The monograph covers recommendations on aspects like building a good quality network with collaborative partnerships, engaging with end users while designing the networks, and developing policies and practices which assures a good quality network.

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