The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has strongly called for all state governments to waive right-of-way (RoW) charges relating to the deployment of the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) in an effort to hasten the system’s rollout. The Economic Times cites an internal note as saying that state governments should not levy RoW fees, as they will be using the NOFN to launch government services themselves. According to the DoT, the NOFN will enable state governments to: ‘Empower rural masses by giving them access to useful information and public services relating to education, health and financial inclusion, which in turn can boost local employment generation and state GDP.’ The regulator had noted that some states had been levying hefty RoW charges, equivalent to around INR12.7 million (USD209,608) per kilometre, and has urged authorities to scrap such practices. To that end, the DoT has called for states to set up apex committees headed by their chief secretaries to relax RoW rules with regard to the NOFN project and to facilitate the network’s rapid rollout.
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