The city civic body has massively cut the access charges for optical fibre cable laying to Rs 1,000 per km from the earlier Rs 1 lakh per km in a move intended to benefit telecom companies.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner IS Chahal, who is also the administrator of the civic body as the term of elected members ended in March, confirmed the same to PTI.
Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) welcomed the move saying it will benefit the industry.
COAI said BMC was levying Rs 1 lakh per km for trenching activity as per rules framed in 2015, but added that as per directions issued by the Department of Telecom in 2016, the amount of administrative charges for laying of optical fibre is Rs 1,000 per km of fibre and no other tax, fee, cess, or surcharge shall be levied by local authorities.
The lobby grouping said it had raised the issue of lowering the charges as per the DoT directions since then, as it felt that the high charges were a big roadblock threatening the existence and upcoming telecom infrastructure rollouts in Maharashtra.
The industry will keep pushing for its other demand of lowering the charges to zero, COAI’s director general SP Kochhar said.