Tower site regulation is a two-edged sword. Too much and the industry slows to a crawl. Too little and the public can be endangered. Chennai, a coastal city in southwest India, felt the latter when a cell tower came crashing down on an apartment complex, according to The Times of India.
While no one was killed, the collapse sent residents and activists calling for carriers to do more to ensure their towers are safe and for the government to do more to make sure that it happens.
Residential welfare associations have facilitated the installation of towers on apartments to generate revenue for maintenance. Carriers pay from $225US to $338US to the apartment owners to rent space on their terraces.
At least 2,000 cell towers are installed in Chennai on apartments, as well commercial buildings and other high-rise structures. The city has identified 1,775 towers that its engineers plan to verify for structural stability.
The debate over regulation highlights one of the challenges that confronts American Tower, which has a significant presence in India, owning or operating more than 7,400 tower sites throughout the country.