Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister of Communications, Electronics & IT and Railways, announced changes to the Indian Telegraph Right of Way (RoW) Rules, 2016 at a gathering sponsored by the Department of Telecommunications. The new Rules, i.e., the Indian Telegraph Right of Way (Amendment) Rules, 2022 was brought to life as an attempt to bring the telecommunication in rural and urban areas of the country in par with each other and the world at large by prioritising the Right of Way. The Indian Telegraph Act was enacted to govern the use of wired and wireless telegraph, telephones, digital data, and radio communications. By this Act, the Government of India was enabled to have exclusive jurisdiction for establishing, maintaining, operating, licensing of all types of tele communications; wired and wireless, withing the territory of India. Various amendments have been made to the Act since its enactment to keep up with the changes in technology. As a response in the same direction and for meeting newer standards of evolving technology, the present amended Rules were announced on the 17th of August 2022.

The concept of “Right of Way” is the right under which telecom infrastructure providers are enabled to use public property and private property, upon a prescribed format of applying for the same. In the telecommunications industry, the Right of Way (RoW) is the legal foundation for installing telecom towers, constructing optical fibre cables (OFC), enhancing company collaboration etc. In the next two to three years, 5G services are expected to be available practically everywhere in the nation. The Amendment guarantees a quick adoption of the technology that is expected to enable India to realise its 5G potential.

Why were these amendments made?

The Amendments are made for speeding telecom network development, upgrade efforts towards the same and to clear the path for the installation of 5G small cells on already-built street infrastructure. As per Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA), the deployment of services may be supported by the present infrastructure. To fully use the potential of 5G, experts advise that at least 70% of telecom towers, up from the existing level of 33%, need to be fiberized. In comparison to 2G and 3G wireless technologies, which operate on a shared network and have a constrained capacity to manage an increase in load, fiberization is crucial for 5G because of the rising data consumption and growth in India.


Amendments to the Right of Way have been made, according to the Ministry of Communications, in an effort to effectively implementat 5G networks across the nation. The changes include a rationalisation of fees, the implementation of a single window clearance system, and the elimination of the requirement to obtain permission from a government agency before erecting infrastructure over private land. It is not necessary for telecom licensees to obtain authorization from any government agency in order to establish telecom equipment, such as towers, poles, or optical fibre, except in case of installation of mobile tower or pole over a private building, the telecom infrastructure provider/ licensee shall submit an intimation, in writing, to the appropriate authority, prior to commencement of such establishment. Instead, they can engage into agreements with private property owners, by insertion of Rule 10B. It also states that telecom businesses must provide information about the building or structure where the installation of a mobile tower or pole is proposed to be built, as well as a copy of the structural engineer’s certification attesting to the structural safety and authorised by the relevant authorities.

For the installation of poles on territory it owns or has jurisdiction over, the central government shall not impose an administrative fee according to Part I of the Schedule. The Schedule that is inserted by way of this amendment, consists of three parts that provide for Fees, Charges for restoration and Compensation, respectively.

For RoW applications, this amendment offers a single window clearance scheme. The single window platform for all telecom-related RoW applications would be the Ministry of Communications’ Gati Shakti Sanchar Portal.

The significance:

The regulations also claim that these revisions will help to simplify the RoW-related permit processes for creating and expanding the Nation’s digital communication infrastructure.

According to the Communications Ministry, a strong pan-Indian digital infrastructure would bridge the country’s digital gap between rural and urban areas as well as between affluent and poor people.

The announcement of the Amendment Rules further noted that e-Governance and financial inclusion will be improved. The inhabitants’ information and communication demands will be met and conducting business will be made simple. The announcement further stated that India’s goal of transforming into an economically and socially empowered digital society can come true.