New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) published a consultation paper on Monday addressing issues of in-building infrastructure development, access and sharing with an aim to provide guidelines for quality service inside residential and commercial complexes.

The paper highlights three main issues. First: it proposes to seek an agreement of stakeholders on whether industry needs Trai’s intervention on this issue.

Earlier, Trai had made recommendations for penalizing telcos for dropped calls to which the industry cited the lack of in-building infrastructure as being one of the reasons for poor quality of service. The issuance of a paper dealing with the issue looks like an effort by the regulator to extend help on the infrastructure front.

Second, sharing of infrastructure by telcos inside a building and if such sharing should be made mandatory.

Third, the paper recommends international practices on in-building infrastructure and asks for suggestions on provisions to be included in the National Building Code of India for facilitation of such guidelines.

The last date for comments and counter comments on the paper are 7 July and 14 July, respectively.

On the premise that people spend more time inside buildings, Trai states the need for operators to have access inside building to enable supporting infrastructure. The paper mentions that currently this is being achieved by an agreement between telcos and building owners or resident welfare associations (RWAs), who charge high rent for the same and make unreasonable demands.

The paper mentions use of in-building solutions (IBS)/ Micro BTS/ HetNet to enable high Internet speeds inside buildings along with creation of wifi hotspots and telecom operators placing equipment inside a building.

“Without having access to building, in-building telecom infrastructure cannot be installed. It has come to the notice of the authority that in many areas there are problems in getting access to buildings," the paper states.

In many cases, only one or two telcos are given permission to enable infrastructure inside a building by its owner or builder. In that case, other telecom service providers (TSP) fail to provide quality service.

“Such practices not only limit competition, they also leave no choice to consumers but to take services from the contracted TSP," Trai said.

T.V. Ramachandran, president of Broadband India Forum, appreciated the move saying, “It was long needed and an important requirement that building owners extend their cooperation to TSPs and TSPs are committed to sharing their infrastructure."

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