(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority's (TRA) project to set up 200 telecom towers in rural areas is gaining momentum.
The project, which will serve 250 villages and an estimated 15,000 people, was launched in the third quarter of 2012 in response to appeals by citizens living in remote areas.
The project was expected to be completed by the end of 2013. Eng Mohamed al Maimani, manager of universal services obligation, TRA explained, ''Things are progressing. As many as 24 stations are already operational, six additional stations are expected to be operational by this month-end, and 70 by the end of 2014. TRA is working on ways to streamline the process which includes land acquisition from the Ministry of Housing, in addition to authorisations from the Ministry of Environmental and Climatic Affairs (MECA) and the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources.''
He added, ''TRA has an agreement with MECA, which gives us the authority to approve a site if the criteria set by it are met. Also, representatives from the concerned branches of government cooperate by attending site inspections together, which speeds up the process.
''This TRA initiative will allow people in remote villages to connect to the world, and we appreciate the continued support of citizens in this matter but objections lodged by villagers regarding the location of towers delay the process.''
He said that during Comex 2014, TRA had held sessions to explain the concept of electro-magnetic fields with regard to telecom towers as part of its efforts to address growing concerns over radiation from telecom towers causing health issues to people living near these transmitters.
Meanwhile, Omantel and Nawras are supporting the initiative by setting up 100 sites each to provide telecommunication services in several rural areas