TRAI Floats Paper on Using Street Furniture for 5G Infra

5GThe telecom regulator has floated a consultation paper on use of street furniture for small cell and aerial fiber deployment, critical to roll out of 5G telecom networks in the country.

Explaining that dense deployment of small cells was critical for mass adoption and availability of 5G services as higher bandwidths needed to be supplemented with more base stations for high quality 5G services, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has asked 17 questions on how to incentivise the use of the small cells and broad framework for deploying them.

“The use of higher frequency bands for 5G services would require that macro cells be complemented with extensive deployment of small cells so as to support all kinds of uses and applications, at all locations,” Trai has said in an 83-page consultation paper issued on Wednesday.

“Small cells are low-powered radio access nodes or base stations (BS) operating in licensed or unlicensed spectrum that have a coverage range from a few meters up to a few hundred meters,” the regulator has said, explaining the difference between traditional BTS and small cells.

Among the questions asked are whether the existing rights of way (RoW) rules notified by the department of telecommunication need to be changed.

Elaborating on their portability and ease of handling the regulator has said that the attributes of small cells (radio, antenna) are compressed such that they are portable and easy to deploy and they intend to provide localized coverage in households and hotspot services especially in areas like city-centers and transport hubs.

As a result, the regulator has further asked whether it should be mandated that certain public infrastructure (municipality buildings, post offices, bus, and railway stations, etc.) be earmarked to have dedicated spaces that allow service providers to deploy macro/small cells.

It has further asked for suggestions for an enabling framework that shall include suggestions about the role of various authorities, rules of coordination among them, compliance rules and responsibilities, approval process, levies of fees/penalties, access rules etc.

The last date for submitting responses to the consultation paper is April 20, and for counter-comments, is May 4.

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