mobile tower
Representative image. Photo credit- BGR India

In Arunachal Pradesh, there are no mobile towers installed within the 10 km distance of the India-China border.

This information was shared by the Telecom Ministry in the Parliament on Wednesday.

A report published on Wednesday by Times Now News stated that as per the data shared by Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, a total of 1,511 mobile towers have been installed within 10 km of the 5,182-km long international border in the Northeast.

The report also stated that of the total towers on the international border, telecom companies have installed 1,373 mobile towers alongside India-Bangladesh border, 48 on India-Bhutan border and 90 around India-Myanmar border and no tower on India-China border.

Union Minister Sinha in a written reply to the Lok Sabha stated: “The Government is aware of lack of mobile connectivity in certain parts of North East Region and has already initiated a series of telecom projects to provide mobile services throughout the region in spite of various constraints such as difficult terrain, scattered habitations and insurgency.”

It has been reported that as per telecom experts, a 2G mobile tower can transmit signal up to 4 km and 4G tower can cover half of it.

Under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for the North-Eastern Region (NER) which was approved by the Union Cabinet in the month of September in 2014, the Government has to install 6,673 mobile towers for 8,621 identified uncovered villages, 321 mobile towers for National Highways in NE.

For providing mobile coverage in 4,119 uncovered villages of Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam, the State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been given the responsibility of installing 2,817 mobile towers vide agreement dated January 16, 2018.

The report quoted Union Minister Sinha as saying: “For installation of mobile towers under Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for NER, the time frame is 18 months from the date of signing agreement with USOF.”

According to the report, in May 2016, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had requested Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to assist in providing telecom connectivity initially at 1,683 borders outposts (BOPs) of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) — Assam Rifles, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) etc spread throughout the country, including in the North-Eastern Region.

“Thereafter, MHA intimated the revised demand for connectivity, including broadband using Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) at around 3,000 BOPs. Preliminary estimates for wireless as well as OFC-based connectivity for these BOPs were provided to MHA in October 2017 and January 2018,” Union Minister Sinha further told the Parliament.

The Bharti Airtel, which has been awarded tender to instal 2004 mobile towers in the rest of the region (except Meghalaya), has also been contracted to instal 2,173 mobile towers in Meghalaya in May 2018.

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