Geotagging of telecom towers and optical fiber should help agencies provide a better response to emergencies and natural disasters.

Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor

March 28, 2024

1 Min Read
Mumbai skyline
(Source: robertharding/Alamy Stock Photo)

Indian telecom infrastructure including towers and optical fiber cables is to be "geotagged" to help provide a better response to emergencies and natural disasters under new government plans.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) hopes to complete the geotagging of the communications infrastructure by 2027. It will coordinate with state governments and other ministries to gather the data for geotagging.

Comms infrastructure is often damaged in disasters and operators need to resume their services as quickly as possible to help government agencies provide emergency and medical support. Geotagging should aid this process.

Mapping the country's telecom infrastructure will also help government agencies identify the yet-to-be-connected regions and take steps to provide connectivity in these areas.

It would also align with Digital India, an initiative launched by the Indian government to boost digital infrastructure in the country. Geotagging could speed up work on projects that require telecom infrastructure as a foundation. 

India has around 794,114 telecom towers, according to the latest DoT data, as well as 3,726,577km of optical fiber network, as of June 2023, according to the Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA).

Geotagging is likely to start with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the government-owned service provider, before it is extended to the main private-sector players. The challenge there may be overcoming the reluctance of those operators to share data, especially for the optical fiber network. The government will also need to adopt measures to ensure the data is not misused.

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About the Author(s)

Gagandeep Kaur

Contributing Editor

With more than a decade of experience, Gagandeep Kaur Sodhi has worked for the most prominent Indian communications industry publications including Dataquest, Business Standard, The Times of India, and Voice&Data, as well as for Light Reading. Delhi-based Kaur, who has knowledge of and covers a broad range of telecom industry developments, regularly interacts with the senior management of companies in India's telecom sector and has been directly responsible for delegate and speaker acquisition for prominent events such as Mobile Broadband Summit, 4G World India, and Next Generation Packet Transport Network.

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