Tele-density & Other Telecom Issues

Tele-Density & Other Telecom Issues in NER


Telecom Circles in NER


1. There are three telecom circles in NER (excluding Sikkim). These are:


  • Assam Telecom Circle
  • NE-1 Telecom Circle – Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura
  • NE-2 Telecom Circle – Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland
  • Sikkim is part of West Bengal Telecom Circle.



2. The status of tele-density of the NER tells the tale.  The poor tele-density and the quality of services reflect the problem of the telecommunication sector in NER.


Category Assam North  East All India
Rural 27.47% 33.51% 36.81%
Urban 142.96% 145.80% 166.54%
Total 44.91% 60.72% 76.03%


3. The Department of Telecommunication (TRAI) does not maintain separate tele-density figures for each state of NER except that of Assam which is a separate telecom circle.  Separate figures for NE-1 & NE-2 are not maintained. There are no separate figures for the State of Sikkim as it is a part of West Bengal Telecom Circle.


4. Coverage of connectivity on National Highways and broadband penetration is also quite poor.


Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) Activities in NER


5.  The USOF has been active in NER.  Details of its activities may be seen in the sections on USOF. 


Other Telecom Issues


6.  To create redundancy of the telecom lines passing through the Chicken's Neck area, a need has been felt for linking undersea cable node at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh with NER. It is required as a foolproof alternative Optical Fibre(OF)/land route to the present OF network passing through Chicken's neck area. Two possible solutions through international territory are as follows:


  • OFC route network from Agartala to Dhaka via Kolkata.
  • OFC route from Agartala to Cox's Bazar to Chennai on Submarine OFC Cable.

Ministry of DONER has requested Department of Telecommunications to examine the feasibility in coordination and agreement with Government of Bangladesh and Ministry of External Affairs.


7. Setting up of the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) in Guwahati for better internet services. Presently, internet traffic of the NER goes through Kolkata.  Department of IT has been requested to find out the viability gap for setting up of a new node in Guwahati from NIXI. NIXI has agreed 'in-principle'.


8.  Presently, national roaming facility is not available for prepaid users from other States coming to NER due to security reasons. It has impacted tourism and business visitors thereby harming the interest of the States. 


9. Need for more involvement of private telcos in strengthening of telecom sector in NER.


10. Implementation Issues to be addressed by State Governments


  • Delay in extension of commercial power connection to telecom installation by the State Power Departments.
  • Absence of reliable power supply to telecom installations adversely affecting the telecom services.
  • Right of Way (ROW) approvals by local Government Bodies for laying telecom lines
  • Compensation to telecom operators (TO) for cutting cable/ OFC by NHAI, State PWD and State PHE.

11. Status (15.06.2012)[MSPPT](0 bytes)