Just a month after Delhi High Court heard a petition seeking that the cellphone towers be installed at least 50 meters away from residences, and more so from schools and hospitals, Department of Telecom (DoT) has implemented a new set of norms for mobile tower radiations. This is a bit of a surprise, given that DoT was to enforce these new norms from November 1, 2012.
The exposure limits for mobile phone towers have been lowered to one-tenth of the existing levels.
The fact that DoT has categorized tower distances based on the number of antennas they host, is even more appreciable and make the new norms more meaningful. For example, while a tower with two antennas as tenants needs to be 35 meters away from residential blocks, a tower with 12-odd antennas would need to maintain a distance of 75 meters.
More needs to be done though. There is a need to systematically progress towards a scenario where the base stations only minimally exist in their present forms and are instead taken over by smarter, greener and nominally radiating antennas with smaller form factors.
A solution is to increase the use of femto cells, pico cells and even Wi-Fi networks. These, in turn, should be duly supported by improved deployment of wireline networks like DSL, cable and fiber.
It’s time to blow the dust off the National Broadband Plan recommendations submitted by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) way back in December 2010.
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