BENGALURU: The ongoing drive by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike against illegal optical fibre cables laid by telecom operators, has attracted criticism by the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI).
The association said that cables laid legally by its members were also being cut. The COAI, in a statement on Friday, asked the government to hold talks with service providers to come up with a solution, as the city’s cellular and data network was seeing large scale disruptions because of what the COAI termed a “sudden directive” of the BBMP.
If BBMP continues with its drive against OFC cables, the city could wear a clean look. This random cutting of OFC across areas like Sarjapur Road, Whitefield, Marathahalli, Bellandur, Sarjapur etc, without prior intimation to telecom and internet service providers, is leading to huge outages and inconvenience to citizens in densely populated areas across the city.
The statement, issued by the Director General of COAI, an industry association of telecom companies, states that consumers across Bengaluru and other parts of the state were facing issues because of the drive. “We are disheartened with the sudden and unwarranted action by the BBMP to remove OFC cables, which is leading to huge outages and inconvenience to subscribers in densely populated areas and the industry, that too without any prior notice.”
The COAI also accused BBMP of affecting at least 700 mobile towers across seven zones in Bengaluru, with their drive against OFC cables, and claimed that their members comply with all rules and regulations.
“The industry has been trying to resolve the issue but the BBMP has frequently been involved in cutting the cables and disrupting service,” the statement said. BBMP’s action is expected to cause a setback to the city’s robust digital economy.
BBMP is treating all over-the-ground cables as unauthorized, though the industry had obtained necessary permissions and had originally laid them underground. However, the service providers were constrained to lay them overhead as and when they were unintentionally cut or removed during various civil works carried out by BBMP, BESCOM and BWSSB.
“Disconnection of cables by BBMP is a huge blow to the Digital Bengaluru plan, which has the potential to cripple essential services, including Point of Sale purchase applications at retail outlets and various government services in Bengaluru,” Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI, said.