No mobile tower installed near India-China border in Arunachal

NEW DELHI, Dec 19: There are no mobile towers installed within a 10 kilometre distance of the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh, according to data shared by the telecom ministry in Parliament on Wednesday.
The data shared by Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha shows that a total of 1,511 mobile towers have been installed within 10 kilometres of the 5,182-kilometre long international borders in the Northeast.
Of the total towers on international border, telecom companies have installed 1,373 mobile towers alongside the India-Bangladesh border, 48 on the India-Bhutan border, 90 around the India-Myanmar border, and no tower on the India-China border.
“The government is aware of lack of mobile connectivity in certain parts of the Northeast 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,” Sinha said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
According to telecom experts, a 2G mobile tower can transmit signal up to 4 kilometres, and a 4G tower can cover half of it.
Under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for the Northeastern Region approved by the cabinet in September 2014, the government has to install 6,673 mobile towers for 8,621 identified uncovered villages, and 321 mobile towers for national highways in the northeastern states.
State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been given the responsibility of installing 2,817 mobile towers for providing mobile coverage in 4,119 uncovered villages of Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam vide an agreement dated 16 January, 2018.
“For installation of mobile towers under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for NER, the timeframe is 18 months from the date of signing the agreement with the USOF,” Sinha said.
Mobile connectivity in the region has been a long-pending demand of security forces as there have been several instances of incursions in the area.
In May 2016, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) had requested telecommunications department to assist in providing telecom connectivity initially at 1,683 border outposts (BOP) of the central armed police forces – the Assam Rifles, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Sashastra Seema Bal, the Border Security Force, the Central Reserve Police Force, etc, spread throughout the country, including in the Northeast.
“Thereafter, MHA intimated the revised demand for connectivity, including broadband using optical fibre cable, at around 3,000 BOPs. Preliminary estimates for wireless as well as OFC-based connectivity for these BOPs were provided to the MHA in October 2017 and January 2018,” Sinha said.
Bharti Airtel has been awarded tender to install 2004 mobile towers in the rest of the region (except Meghalaya). The private telecom operator has been contracted to install 2,173 mobile towers in Meghalaya in May 2018. (PTI)