Laying Optical Fiber cable along State Highways and Roads – Guidelines

The optical fiber network has largely reached State Capitals, Districts and Blocks and it is now proposed to connect all the 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country through optical fiber utilizing existing fibers of Public Sector Undertakings(PSUs) viz., BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid and laying incremental fiber to connect to Gram Panchayats wherever necessary. Dark fiber network thus created will be lit by appropriate technology thus creating sufficient Bandwidth at GPs level. This will be called National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) and would fill the prevailing connectivity gap between GPs and Blocks / Districts. The network is proposed to be completed in two years time. The project would be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and would be executed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL), a company under the companies Act, being incorporated for this purpose.

2. Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India and Government of Andhra Pradesh and Bharat Broadband Limited was signed on 26th October 2012 vide 1st read above to implement the NOFN project in letter and spirit. BBNL has been formed and designated as Executing Agency for implementation of the project. The Scope of work includes

a) Connecting the gram panchayats of India on Optical fiber using the fiber(s) of other Public Sector Under taking/Telecom Service Providers and/or laying incremental fiber network for providing the broadband connectivity.

b) Setting up of suitable telecom network on the national optical fiber network for enabling of various types of applications in the gram panchayats / villages.

c) Operation and maintenance of the project in accordance with the Central Government / Department of Telecommunications guidelines.

3. No Right of Way Charges including reinstatement charges shall be levied by State Government, their local bodies, companies or agencies as the information highway proposed to be created through National Optical Fiber Network for broadband connectivity to Panchayats is primarily for the benefit of the local communities to Panchayats and State Governments. This support will be considered as contribution of the State Government towards this project as a larger good for ensuring the time bound implementation of the programme and to avoid any delays in grant of Right of Way permission. Electric Utilities (Transco/Discoms) shall give Right of Way (RoW) permissions on their transmission lines/sub-transmission lines/distribution lines to Bharat Broadband Network Limited for installation of Optical Grand Wire/All-Dielectric Self Supporting cable as may be suitable for extending connectivity to Gram panchayats subject to APERC Guidelines. Also for use of Forest Land vide 3rd read above detailed guidelines were issued granting general approval under Section-2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act,1980 for diversion of forest land for underground laying of optical fiber cables and underground laying of telephone lines. The same have to be followed.

4. The Government has also decided to extend the facility of free Right of Way (RoW) for optical fibre to be laid along roads and other State properties broadly. It is expected that this would enable M/s Bharat Broadband Network Limited to speedily rollout the network and make broadband services available to Govt. offices as well as citizens at an affordable tariff at panchayat level.

5. Keeping the above circumstances in view, the following guidelines are issued in the matter of according permission to M/s Bharat Broadband Network Limited for laying optical fiber cable along roads belonging to the State in the R&B, Panchayat Raj, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Energy and Forest Departments.

a) The cable shall be laid at the edge of the right of way within 2m utility corridors.

b) The top of the casing conduit pipe containing the cables shall be at least 1.60m below the surface of the road subject to being at least 0.3m below the drain inverts.

c) The BBNL shall ensure making good the excavated trench for laying cables by proper filling and compaction, so as to restore the land in to the same conditions as it was before digging the trench, clearing debris/loose earth produced due to execution of trenching at least 50m away from the edge of the right of way.

d) The BBNL shall shift the cables/ducts within 90 days from the date of issue of the notice by the R&B, PRED and GPs to shift/relocate the cables/ducts, in case it is so required for the purpose of improvement/widening of the road/route/highway or construction of flyover/bridges and restore the road/land to its original condition at his own cost and risk.

e) Regarding the location of other cables, underground installation/utilities etc, the BBNL shall be responsible to ascertain from the respective agency in coordination with R&B, PRED and GPs. The BBNL shall ensure the safety and security of already existing cables/underground installation/utilities facilities etc. before commencement of the excavation.

f) BBNL will give a letter of assurance/comfort to state governments and at the backend evolve a mechanism to prevent damage to existing underground utilities and in case of any damage will take steps to restore the same to original status in arrangement with its designated implementing agencies/contractors.

g) The BBNL has to cross the R&B, PRED and GPs road by horizontal drilling method (trenchless technology only). In case any damage is caused to the road pavement in this process, the BBNL will be required to restore the same to the original condition at its own cost.
h) Existing Cross Drainage (CD) works shall not be allowed for laying the OFC and shall be crossed by HDD method only.

i) No trenching will be done on pucca road, boring method will be used in pucca road and cable will be laid at the extreme edge of the road in the non-BT surface only.

j) The permission granted shall not in any way be deemed to convey to the BBNL any ownership right or any interest in route/road/highway/land/property, other than what is expressly granted in the MoU already signed.

k) The BBNL shall have to provide barricading, danger lighting and other necessary caution boards while executing the work and during maintenance.

l) If any traffic diversion works are found necessary during the working period, such diversion shall be provided at the cost of BBNL.

m) If R&B, PRED and GPs is required to do some emergent work, the BBNL will provide an observer within 24 hours. R&B, PRED and GPs will not be responsible for any damage of any kind by any means, natural or otherwise.

6. The Roads and Buildings Department, Forest Department, Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Department, Energy Department and Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department shall take necessary consequential action for ensuring the implementation of these orders.

7. BBNL is advised to interact with Nodal officers from the Departments to arrive at the modalities of application etc and to provide detailed route plan, works schedule and information etc before commencement of the work for which no fee will be charged.

G.O.Ms.No.18  Dated: 17 -10-2013. MoU No.NOFN/RoW-1, Dated: 26.10.2012.

  1. C.No.37-1/IT&C/COMM/2012/5,IT&C Department.
  2. F.No.11-9/98-FC,Dated:16.10.2000,Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI.

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