The Indian government is reportedly close to finalising a Rs 2000 crore project that seeks to boost the telecom infrastructure in the border areas. The project would bring 4G to more than 1000 outposts and intelligence posts. According to an ET report, the proposal to install 4G towers at the paramilitary manned outposts is in the final stage of discussion and would soon be taken to the Cabinet for final approval. If telecom connectivity is strengthened in the border areas, that would mean that the Indian troops will be able to get better connectivity services. China has already ensured strong network connectivity for its troops along the border.
The move is being made by the centre as in the recent past, many new border outposts have been added in Sikkim, Lakadh, and Arunachal Pradesh after the 2020 Galwan clashes. The rules for setting up telecom infra were modified in 2022 to ensure that Indians near the border area could get a decent connectivity experience. Until August 2022, telecom infra installation within 10 km of the border was mostly barred and required approval from the armed forces to be set up.
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But in 2022, an amendment was made in the Unified License agreement, which allowed the set up of mobile towers up to almost 500 metres off the border. According to the report, this amendment was required as, in search of better connectivity services, locals were opting for SIM cards of foreign telecom operators. Even the paramilitary personnel have had to resort to using satellite phones in the border areas because of poor to no connectivity.
Thus, the arrival of 4G in the area would mean that the army personnel in the area would be able to get strong connectivity services, and the locals won’t have to depend on foreign telecom operators for basic calling and data services.