New Delhi, Sept 26 (IANS): The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday recommended a Rs. 2,918 crore investment for improving phone connectivity in the North East Region (NER) where coverage is poor in almost half of the villages, chairman Rahul Khullar said here.
"About one-sixth of National Highways do not have telephone connectivity at all. Teledensity is low compared to national standard and in terms of coverage to villages it is very low ... which is very sad," Khullar said.
He mentioned that in some places teledensity is as low as 40 to 46 percent compared to national average of over 70 percent.
NER includes eight states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
The regulator recommended utilization of the envisaged investment in providing second generation (2G) mobile coverage in towns and villages having population of more than 250 persons. Also, it has recommended for third generation (3G) services penetration in all urban areas in NER.
It also recommended provision of seamless connectivity along all National Highways in the NER.
TRAI came up with the recommendations after the Telecom Department wrote to it asking for recommendations on how to revamp telecom services in the North East. Earlier, the chief ministers of the eight northeastern states complained to the Centre about the poor quality of telecom services in the region.
To expedite these projects, the authority has asked the eight state governments to provide land and set up a single-window clearance system for telecom-related clearance like pollution or noise control certificate, environment clearance, site acquisitions and commercial power supply, among other things.