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Money for BBMP from Cable/Fibre operators

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On some forums etc, I am surprised to see people object to BBMP looking to charge Fibre/Cable operators for using trees, poles, sewrage lines, road side trenches etc. Why not? Leave the part about these guys (esp the cable operators) weaving an ugly tangled web around us (look up anywhere in the city, and you will see). Why should a private utility or service provider not pay for using property managed by the civic agency?

Meanwhile (source here), it seems BBMP would already be collecting some money today

Bangalore - Rs.50/- per coaxial cable per pole per year.

Assuming about 20 poles / km of road length, and 400 kms worth of roads with cables on poles. there should be a paltry sum of (8000x50) Rs 4 lakhs coming in today from cable operators. As per this Hindu article, BBMP forecasted a larger sum (though this is from Fibre business, perhaps only ISPs, and not cable operators):

A new policy is in the pipe line to bring optical fibre business into BBMP tax net and about Rs 780 crore a year is expected to be collected from optical fibre cables.

The policy, it seems was (source: TOI) this:

The petitioner companies had questioned the decision of BBMP to impose a fee of Rs 300 per metre of optical fibre cable (OFC) laid and also to impose Rs 900 per metre (300% of the fee) as penalty wherein the OFCs were laid without obtaining permission.

So charge is on per meter basis (for OFC, not sure if it applies to coaxial cables too, I am guessing it should). Not clear if this is on per year basis, or one-time fee basis when laying down the cables.

What would be some other models for charing the operators?

  • Revenue share - per subscriber basis? Pay a % per subscriber? The charge could reflect in the bill we get.
  • Fixed fee (say Rs 50) per subscriber on annual basis
  • Annnual fee based on coverage area or coverage population (and not the cable length). Basically, pay a sum to BBMP for reaching a certain count of target subscribers.
  • What else?



psaram42's picture

Charging cable operators

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By charging cable operators, BBMP is in effect charging the end user. Hence the public out cry. Any Planning involves future vision, I suppose. Has BDA shown any clever, Inventive skill or imagination in its town planning?

n's picture

Some of right-of-way

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Some of right-of-way calculations for thought.  Summarized below:

The approach could be described as an easement analogy with the valuation being calculated as follows:
[Land Value of right of way by unit area] x [length of area occupied] x [width of area occupied] x [rate of return] x [factor to recognize degree of alienation of area] x [use factor]

More reading for a state (interesting that it is viewed as rental and not tax),  limitation of pole fees and much more reading for a country.  So, BBMP is not alone in grappling with the issue.  Any subscriber-based fees needs to take into account "under-reporting" (aka cheating) by the agencies.  On the flip side, utilizing lengths for calculating fees tends to penalize larger operators with pan-Bengaluru coverage.  If smaller operators piggy-backed on the larger ones by paying them fees, charges based on km-length may be fair ...

silkboard's picture

level playing field, under reporting

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n, read through some of the links. was thinking of these

  • Must have ISP/Cable companies share subscriber counts with Municipality? Fudging will be harder because BBMP will have good handle of the count of residents within its administration limits?
  • Now that Digital STBs are mandatory, won't they address under-reporting problem. Under reporting was one reason the digital STBs are coming in (and cable 'industry' has tried its best to delay it), right? I am assuming that the STBs have some unique ID # system, and govt would have mandated keeping track of each STB through the ID #. Funding and under reporting should become harder

All this creates problems for wireless ISPs (3g/4g/wimax etc) Telcos, and satellite DTH guys. How will they ever compete with cable/fiber based competition if the setup costs (laying cable/fiber vs buying license for satellite band/spectrum etc) are much lower. We want more options through players that operate on level playing fields. If that means higher costs, so be it. As long as the "high" costs we pay go to some real jobs, whats the problem.


murali772's picture

what about the needs of mango men?

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If that means higher costs, so be it. As long as the "high" costs we pay go to some real jobs, whats the problem.

How do you then take care of the needs of the likes of this "mango man" with 4 TV's in his house?

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

looks to be a satisfactory outcome

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The cash-strapped BBMP has managed to get Rs 109 crore from telecommunication service providers after it set up an Optic Fibre Cable (OFC) Committee. Speaking to Express, BBMP Commissioner M  Lakshminarayana said the civic body was earlier getting just `30 crore as revenue from the companies which laid underground OFC. “These companies had not taken BBMP’s permission and hence the committee was formed to look into alleged violations. After the committee was formed, the Palike signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with these companies on the condition that they will pay the ground rent for laying OFCs,” he said. “After the MoU was signed, the BBMP’s revenue increased. We managed to collect `109 crore between January and March,” he added. He maintained that there will not be any harassment from any official as the companies will dig roads legally and lay OFCs.

“There will be complete transparency as according to the MoU the firms, which dig the roads to lay OFCs, will also be responsible for the maintenance of those roads. If a road develops potholes or caves in, the firms have to repair it. These were the conditions that have been laid in agreement,” Lakshminarayana said.

For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

Finally, something that the BBMP could be complimented for, one should think.

So, the question arises as to what prevents them from forming such tasked committees and moving forward on the various other issues too?

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