The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released its recommendations on "Rating of Buildings or Areas for Digital Connectivity" during February 2023. Salient features of the recommendations are as follows.
Model Building Bye-Laws (MBBL) and National Building Code of India (NBC) should be amended to incorporate necessary provisions on Digital Connectivity Infrastructure (DCI).
DCI should be made an essential component of the building development plans, on the line of water supply, electrical services, gas supply, fire protection and fire safety requirements, etc.
The Government may work with State Governments/ UTS for incorporation of suitable provisions for DCI development in the respective bye- laws or other relevant laws or other relevant laws of the State Governments/UTs.
Provisions for mandating DCI inside the Buildings, its maintenance, timely upgradation, etc. should be incorporated in the builder-buyer agreement for coveringit under the jurisdiction of RERA act and its enforceability by the RERA.
The actors to design, deployand evaluate the DCI should include the Property Manager and DCI Professionals i.e., DCI Designer, DCI Engineer and DCI Evaluator.
Any person who possesses the requisite skills,as may be prescribed, can perform the functions as DCI Designer or DCI Engineer or DCI Evaluator.
A separate chapter should be included in MBBL on comprehensive framework for development of DCI.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) should be tasked to review existing standards and procedures of DCI for Buildings.
The "National Building Code Sectional Committee" constituted under NBC, should include members from the Department of Telecommunication and Telecom Industry.
The Panel on 'Informationand Communication Enabled Installations' under NBC should be expanded to include representatives from Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) and Telecommunications Standards DevelopmentSocietyIndia (TSDSI)and, experts on telecom RF planning and experts on digital modelling of Buildings. The convener of this panel should be the representative nominated by DoT.
BIS should prescribe different standards for different classes of Buildings for DCI.
BIS should also prescribe such provisions of DCI that would be mandatorily required (essential requirements) to be completed for issuance of completion/ occupancy certificate for Buildings.
The Property Manager shall be the owner of the deployed DCI whether created by himself or through his agent and shall be responsible for maintenance, expansion and upgradation of such DCI.The Property Manager shall allow access of DCI to all serviceprovidersin fair, non-chargeable, transparent and non-discriminatory manner and shallnot have any exclusive arrangements or agreements with any infrastructure/ service provider. Provided that in case active wireless equipment is installed by a licensee, the licensee will be responsible for maintenance, expansion and upgradation of such DCI and to that extent, the ownership lies with that licensee. However, this installation of active wireless equipment will be carried out on behalf of the Property Manager and Property Manager shall be responsible for ensuring that the licensee compulsorily gives access of such active wireless equipment to all service providers on fair, transparent, non-discriminatory, and non- exclusive manner.
An amendment to the present Unified License conditions with a provision for compulsory sharing of active wireless equipment in the Buildings may be
carried out by DoT.
The revenues earned by sharing of active wireless equipment, as part of DCI, by lessor licensees should not attract License Fee (LF). For the same, such revenues should be reduced from the Gross Revenues (GR) of the lessor licensee to arrive at Applicable Gross Revenue (ApGR)of such lessor licensee.
For existing Buildings where DCI is partly created, the Authority recommends a collaborative approach among stakeholders to decide ownership i.e., Property Manager for development, upgradation and expansion of DCI. However, in cases where DCI is developed by a service provider/ IP-I(s), till no suitable arrangement is worked out to transfer the DCI to the Property Manager, such service providers/ IP-Is shall be governed by the mandatory provisions of the license/ registration conditions.
The Authority reiterates its recommendation in para 2.90 of its recommendations dated 29th November 2022 on "Use of Street Furniture for Small Cell and Aerial Fibre Deployment"wherein it was recommendedthat "enablingprovisionsor suitable terms and conditions shall be introduced in all telecom licenses and IP-I registration agreement prohibiting the TSPs/IP-I providers from entering into any exclusive contract or right of ways with infrastructure owners/ CAAs or any other authority".
In case of introduction of new spectrum bands, change in technologies, increased users' demands etc., DOT should take up with BIS and MoHUA for incorporation of amendments in National Building Code and Model Building Bye-Laws, respectively.
BIS should also prescribe essential provisions that would be required to be carried out by Property Manager for upgradation and expansion of DCI.
The MBBL should have appropriate provisions for the approval of upgradation and expansion of DCI.
The Property Manager should ensure upgradation and expansion of DCI in the timelineas willbe prescribedin the MBBL.
In all existing Buildings owned by the Government, PSUs or autonomous bodies of the Government, commercial buildings and public places such as airports, ports, railwaystations, bus stations, metro stations or any other Building as may be decided by MoHUA in consultation with DOT, DCI shall be upgraded or providedto meet the requirements of state-of-the-art digital connectivity. In such cases, the building bye-laws should prescribe a reasonable time frame so as to ensure availability and accessibility of upgraded DCI.
For other existing Buildings, the new building bye-laws should be issued by MoHUAwithin three years after due consultation with the various stakeholders. Till then, the Property Managers of such existing Buildings shall implement the new bye-laws voluntarily.
The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 should be amended as follows:
A Council of DCI (CoDCI)should be established under the Department of Telecommunications(DOT),Ministry of Communication in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA),All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE),National Skill Development Council (NSDC), Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC), and Construction Skill Development Council (CSDC) or any other organisation/institution as deemed appropriate.
The CoDCI shall be responsible for taking all decisions in respect of certification, registration and capacity building of DCI Professionals.
Broad roles and responsibilities of CoDCI are as follows:
The CoDCI, within one year of its establishment or three years from the date of these recommendations,whicheveris earlier, should establish a mechanism for certification, registration and capacity building of DCI Professionals including setting up of digital platform for the cohesive implementation of DCI.
Till the time CoDCIis established, the provisions in new building bye-laws for DCI as recommended herein must be implemented by utilizing the services of the existing professionals already working in the field of design and development of Buildings and DCI.
A digital platform should be developedand maintained by CoDCI. The broad objectives of the digital platform include but not limited to the following:
Till the time CoDCI is established, the digital platform should be created by DOTto meet immediate objectives,which can later be handed over to the CoDCI.
Appropriate provisions for Rating of Buildings for Digital Connectivity should be included in the MBBL, on the lines of the provisionsmade in the MBBL for rating of green buildings.
To start with, the Rating of Buildings for digital connectivity should be made mandatory for all existing as well as new Buildings of public importance within two years of issue of the regulatory framework by TRAIor two years from obtaining occupancy certificate, whichever is later. The Authority further recommends that Rating of the following Buildings of public importance should be made mandatory:
The Rating of Buildings for digital connectivity should be made mandatory for all new Buildings, excluding the class of Buildings as may be decided by MoHUA in consultation with the States/ UTS and other stakeholders.
The Property Manager should get Buildings rated for digital connectivity within two years of obtaining the occupancy certificate once TRAI has issued the regulatory framework.
For Buildings other than those mandated, the Property Manager may get their Buildings rated for digital connectivity on voluntary basis.
Approval of DCI design, implementation and use of Buildings should remain with the existing institutions as per statute of State/UT Governments for the purpose.
The Authorities of the States/UTs responsible for approval of development plans should hire the services of a suitable expert/ agency on DCI design and evaluation duly registered and certified by the Council of DCI (CoDCI).
new draft chapter on DCI for the Buildings,as suggested, should be included in the ModelBuilding Bye Laws in line with the recommendations.
The BIS Panel on 'Informationand Communication Enabled Installations' should develop standards in respect of DCI for the Buildings, to be included in the National Building Code.
Source : TRAI
Last Modified : 2/21/2024
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