1256 villages in Nagaland have mobile network coverage — Centre
Kohima, Sep. 23 (EMN): As many as 1256 villages out of 1400 inhabited villages in Nagaland have mobile network coverage and 1057 villages have 3G or 4G or both mobile network connectivity, said Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw.
This was stated in a reply, dated August 26 2021, to the minister of Planning and Co-ordination, Land Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs, Neiba Kronu, who had in March this year, written to the then Union Minister of Communications to improve poor network connectivity in Nagaland.
The Union Minister’s response with details on the status of network in the state, was said to have been provided after examining the case.
‘Good mobile coverage and internet/data speed in the area depends on various geographical factors, such as type of terrain, vegetation and other technical parameters like technology deployed, availability of line of sight, backhaul media connectivity, number of simultaneous users etc.,’ the union minister informed.
‘4,924 Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) (4G-3372 Nos., 3G- 446 Nos., 2G106 Nos.) are providing mobile network coverage in Nagaland. Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) install mobile towers and BTSs to improve coverage and capacity of their networks based on their techno-commercial assessments,’ he added.
Vaishnaw also informed that M/s Airtel (BHL-Bharti Hexacom Ltd.) has deployed 166 sites from March-2020 to June-2021. M/s Reliance Jio is augmenting its 4G capacity and has added 124 BTSs from March to June 2021. M/s BSNL has deployed microwave media wherever feasible, to provide reliable service to the state government, defence, bank, educational institutions and retail customers.
‘The M/s BSNL has also covered Kohima with 4G services by 17 BTSs. Further planning is being made to increase the sites,’ he said.
‘There are about 994 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in Nagaland out of which 874 GPs were planned on optical fiber under BharatNet Project Phase-I of Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). Presently, 127 GPs are service ready for broadband connectivity and remaining 747 GPs are proposed to be implemented through Public Private Partnership (PPP),’ the minister added.
Under Bharat Net Project Phase-II, 96 GPs out of 120 GPs in Nagaland are made service ready through satellite media connectivity. The implementation in remaining 24
GPs is in progress, it was informed.
‘This infrastructure is to be utilised by TSPs/ ISPs on non- discriminatory manner for provision of internet connectivity in GPs/ rural areas including villages/ government institutions, schools and private areas,’ the letter read.
He further informed that an agreement was signed between USOF and BHL on December 8, 2017 for providing mobile connectivity in uncovered villages and along national highways in Nagaland.
As of April this year, 152 mobile towers were providing mobile services, covering 107 villages and 45 National Highways sites. 98 villages out of 107 villages and 43 sites out of 45 sites have 4G services.
As many as 22 villages and three national highways sites could not be covered due to various challenges like acquiring land at many sites, unavailability of land records/ no objection certificate, inaccessible villages, village not found etc., which have been brought to the notice of the state government from time to time by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) with a request to expedite the clearance in this regard, if informed.
As reported by TSPs, the services are sometimes affected due to electric power supply problems, optical fibre damage caused by road expansion activities carried out by highway authorities, occasionally fuel scarcity in remote area petrol pumps due to which fuel has to be arranged from distant areas (particularly in Tuensang, Mon and Mokokchung), restriction in diesel generator running at sites in many of the localities in town areas of Kohima, Dimapur and other towns etc.
‘Continuous efforts are being made by TSPs for the maintenance of quality of mobile services. There are some areas in which TSPs require supports from the State Government viz. proactive rectification of electricity line failures, acquiring planned sites in poor coverage areas that are mapped with government buildings, sensitising the public by administration, local bodies regarding not to damage or cut aerial fibre cables etc,’ he said.
‘With these initiatives of the department of Telecommunication, TSPs and further support from the Government of Nagaland, it is believed that the network connectivity in the state will improve further,’ the minister added.