The regulator is engaging with the Urban Development Ministry on the issue, he informed.
“We find a trend where builders, actually Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), are charging money from telecom service providers to allow them to enter premises…,” Sharma said.
“I don’t know what kind of system this is! telecom service providers are providing service in a non-discriminatory manner, they are not charging any premium to those who are living in these complexes, they are providing a service, but they are being told you are not allowed…You have to pay this much of money,” the Trai chairman said during an Assocham webinar on ‘Digital: The next revolution’.
Flagging the “perverse” arrangement, Sharma said these “aberrations” have happened over a period of time because people did not realise that connectivity infrastructure is as important as water pipes or electricity or provision of other common infrastructure.
“It is a perverse arrangement, which is going on. I don’t think anyone will charge power company, water company, for access to colony…so why should one charge for communication infrastructure,” Sharma asked.
Having provided its recommendations on in-building solutions, Sharma said Trai has now started a dialogue with the Ministry of Urban Development to address the issue, and ensuring that connectivity infrastructure is a necessary pre-condition for completion certificate in case of multi-story complexes.
“There is no such provision for telecom infrastructure… as a pre-condition for giving the completion certificates. Ministry of Urban Development has been very positive, we are going to have this discussion and we are going to ensure that we incorporate in the national building code a separate chapter for prescribing, similar to electricity architecture etc, a specification on treatment of communication infrastructure,” Sharma said.