State-run transmission utility PowerGrid Corp has sought sectoral regulator CERC's permission to utilize existing electricity transmission infrastructure for telecommunication purposes.The power utility has approached the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to "engage in other business for optimum utilization of the assets."
"The power lines are installed on towers of varying height and can solve the dual purpose of carriage of power conductors and Wimax antennas (used for telecom)," PowerGrid Corp of India Ltd (PGCIL) said in its petition to CERC.
Mainly into power transmission, PowerGrid owns about 1,50,000 power towers nationwide.
As per the petition, PowerGrid has received request from the department of telecom for the potential use of the firm's infrastructure including power line towers for providing "rural (telecom) connectivity".
"(PowerGrid) has been receiving queries from existing service providers and infrastructure providers regarding the utilisation and sharing of power grid line towers for mounting of antennas for the purpose of coverage in rural and remote areas," according to the petition.
The entity already has a broadband optical fibre network of 21,000 kilometers on its extra high voltage (EHV) 400/220 kV power transmission infrastructure, that connects over 129 places including cities and remote areas.
PowerGrid has said that it would sign infrastructure sharing agreement with the concerned entity that intends to utilize the company's assets for telecom and other business.
The state-run entity has earmarked a capital expenditure of Rs55,000 crore for the current 11th five year plan period (2007-12) and to part fund that capex, it raised over Rs7,000 crore through a follow-on offer (FPO) last year.