BENGALURU: As residents continue to complain about disrupted digital services, internet outages and call drops, cellular operators and the city’s civic agency are trading charges over the move to cut the optical fibre cables (OFC) in several areas.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had earlier expressed its disappointment over the decision taken by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to undertake large-scale cutting of the cables of telecom and internet service providers in Sarjapur Road, Whitefield, Marathahalli, and Bellandur. BBMP officials, however, state that the operators have changed their stance.
“We have only cut OFCs that are above the ground, and nothing underground because the telecom firms had not taken any permission from us for the former. Some of the operators have approached us with a letter but nowhere does it show any permission provided by us,” Dharam Prasad, executive engineer (OFC), said.
Denying BBMP’s claims, COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said, “When road construction began, we agreed with the corporation that cables would be laid overhead temporarily until work was completed. They have asked us to pay for overhead Right of Way. This is ‘double payment’ as the ducts are lying empty, waiting for road works to be completed.”
Prasad insisted that the firms had not taken permission. “Show us the proof that we gave permission. Last year, we gave them a chance to convert overhead fibres to underground ones, and only a few did that. Road works cannot affect the cables since the fibres are laid 1.8-2.5 metres under the ground. Even drainage work is done on the roadside while fibres are placed 2 feet away from the footpath,” he pointed out.
BBMP is also accusing telecom operators of resorting to wrong tactics. It said a demand draft needs to be submitted by the operator, following which BBMP provides permission within 15 days to two months, but operators ask for immediate permission.