Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd is in the process of carving out its telecom vertical to a new fully-owned subsidiary, Powergrid Teleservices Ltd, in a bid to have a "focused approach" and to move up the value chain, senior company officials said.
The move by the state-run power transmission major comes close on the heels when the telecom sector is ramping up its 5G service across the country to bring business transformation that can contribute two per cent to the national GDP.
The state-owned power transmission major has also got approval from the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to operate data centres.
"The telecom division of Powergrid will be transferred to the new subsidiary Powergrid Teleservices after receiving all regulatory approvals to provide greater impetus to the business and move up the value chain by entering into the data centre business. The process for regulatory clearance is in progress," Powergrid executive director (telecom) B Vamsi Rama Mohan told PTI on the sidelines of ABP Group-organised INFOCOM 2022.
He also said that pilots to demonstrate mobile BTS and FM Radio transmission on high voltage power transmission towers "have shown promising results".
"With the focus on high-speed data networks across the country, the telecom business holds immense potential going forward," he said.
Telecom companies have announced plans to have a national 5G footprint in the next two years and Powergrid is "well positioned" to help telcos (telecom companies) to deploy their 4G or 5G base stations on the high voltage power transmission towers as PGCIL has "one of the largest optical fibre ground network in the country providing communication services".
"We have one of the largest optic fibre networks of 76,000 km. Pilots to demonstrate 4G/5G BTS on high-voltage towers have shown promising results and are running smoothly. This gives us confidence that now Powergrid can leverage its two lakh strong tower network across the length and breadth of the country and help telecom companies to provide voice and data services to every village of the country," PGCIL CGM (telecom) D Yadav said.
Powergrid will offer a "one-stop solution for the telecom operators with highly reliable power supply, tower to host antenna and base equipment, backhauling from fibre on the transmission line and unmatched reach" even in remote areas using the widespread transmission tower infrastructure of the company, the officials said.
Speaking about the data centre, Mohan said, "The CERC has accorded approval to Powergrid to establish and operate data centres under PowerTel using surplus lands of the sub-stations.
"The first data centre as a pilot is expected to come up near Delhi with a capacity of 250 racks and it will be ramped up to 1000 racks. Detailed business models on data centres are being worked out."
The size of the telecom business is relatively small in the overall Powergrid revenue but the "business environment is very conducive to leapfrog," Mohan said.
Speaking about National Long-Distance Operation, Mohan said, "Having the interconnect agreements with the neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan, we are leveraging it to deliver optic fibre to these countries."
Powergrid owns a large power transmission network of 1.76 lakh km to help supply energy across the country.