Telcos To Pay For Using Electric Poles In UP

70% of levy to go to consumer, UPERC to finalise the law after public consultations


LUCKNOW, Oct 19 (The CONNECT) – In a first, telecom and broadband firms will have to pay charges for using the electricity pole infrastructure for their cables.

The UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) is in the process of framing a law in this regard.

In fact, the energy watchdog has already released a draft regulation, which is scheduled to have a public hearing on Friday (Oct 21) before the new law and finalised.

The ubiquitous electricity poles dotting the urban and rural landscape is one of the most visible and credible signs of development.

However, these boorish columns not only shoulder the electrified power cables, but today support a plethora of cables and other paraphernalia put up by the telecom and broadband companies operating in the local communities.

While, the state electricity departments spend humongous funds in setting up electricity cables and keeping them in working condition, the bouquet of public and private sector telecom and broadband firms piggyback for free.

In effect, the cost of maintaining such critical infra is ultimately borne by the power consumers. Nonetheless, this is set to change now, at least in Uttar Pradesh.

The power consumers would be the biggest beneficiaries of the new law, since 70 percent of the additional revenue generated from the telecom and broadband firms would be passed on to them. The remaining 30 percent would go to the power distribution companies.

The new law would cover an array of telecom services viz. broadband, 5G etc, which make use of the electricity poles to offer their services by putting up mini dish antenna, cables, boosters etc.

The law would enable the power companies to float a tender for the telecom and broadband firms looking to use its infrastructure.

According to UP power consumers’ forum president Awadhesh Kumar Verma, Uttar Pradesh would become the first state in India to pass such a law in the interest of consumers.

“The forum will seek more benefits for consumers in this regard, including bringing telecom and broadband companies under the ambit of the new law, since they have been using the power department infra for free up till now,” he said.