New Delhi: Power Grid Corporation of India LTD. (POWERGRID) may now offer its transmission towers to Telecom companies for installation of their BTS towers. The state-owned power transmission firm has received a nod from the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) after years of consideration and study. This move, on the one hand, will address the issue of deficiency of telecom coverage especially in the remote areas of the country, on the other, it is going to be a very significant move for the power PSU to earn good revenue. "….the proposal of the petitioner is not contrary to the provisions of the Act. Accordingly, we allow the proposed business of the Petitioner," CERC said in its order.
POWERGRID is having around 1.5 Lacs High Voltage Transmission Towers, which are suitable for installation of Mobile Antenna/BTS. These Transmission line Towers are spread across the country passing through remote/rural areas. Due to Non-availability of reliable power supply in the rural areas, the operators are dependent on DG (Diesel generated) power, which has high operational cost and a high carbon footprint. After years of study, POWERGRID has derived this unique solution to use the unutilised power of earth wire of EHV Transmission Line. The availability of power supply is more than 99.5% and therefore there is no need to install the DG Sets. As a result, this move will significantly reduce the carbon footprint.
Mobile operators need to incur cost towards land leasing, towers installation etc. and also face local row issues. In this plan, a platform on Tower legs has been created for the installation of Base Trans-receiver Station (BTS). The Platform is at a height of 7-8 Mtrs and therefore, will not be affected by flood etc. In order to meet the demand of 4G/5G Data, POWERGRID OPGW fibre is running on EHV Lines and Fibre connectivity may also be provided for BTS. On the sharing of revenue, the CERC has held, "Initially, sharing of revenue shall be in the ratio of 50:50 of the net revenue, after deduction of all direct and indirect costs. However, the same shall be reviewed on completion of one year".
The initiative will also be a major move towards "Digital India" Program of the Government which envisages universal mobile connectivity. "Digital India" is a flagship programme of the Govt. with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. There are many such programmes as the e-Kranti programme with the vision of "Transforming e-Governance for Transforming Governance" by utilizing the emerging technology like Mobile, Cloud etc. To achieve the goal of "Digital India" program, universal mobile connectivity is one of the indispensable conditions. This move is going to improve connectivity in rural areas and create connectivity where there is no mobile coverage. Further, TRAI has emphasized for a reduction in carbon footprint through reducing the use of DG set at mobile tower locations and utilizing alternate possible energy source including renewables.