BHAWANIPATNA: When poor mobile connectivity and internet coverage is giving students a tough time in accessing online education across tribal-dominated pockets of the State, the General Manager of Odisha Telecom Circle has decided to close 4G-ready services in 17 low data sites across Kalahandi, Nuapada and Balangir districts.
The reason for shutting the 4G services is attributed to underutilisation of ZTE 4G equipment commissioned in the areas. Out of 41 worst data traffic carrying sites in these areas, 17 will now have 2G services. The affected areas will be under the jurisdiction of Bhawanipatna and Balangir secondary switching areas (SSAs), helmed by DGMs.
In a letter on July 28, the GM conveyed both the Bhawanipatna and Balangir DGMs that the under-utilised 4G equipment will be redeployed in Phulbani SSA.The decision, obviously, has not gone down well with the locals since all the affected areas which will no longer have 4G services are important locations along national and state highways.
Expressing concern, Rajya Sabha Member Sujeet Kumar, in a letter to the Minister for Communication, Electronics and Information Technology, urged that the decision of GM Odisha Telecom circle for closure of BSNL 4G service and dismantling 4G services must be revoked immediately.
Instead of developing the systems and improving services to the customers, he said, the decision for closure of the services is unwarranted and created public discontentment.
Local youth leader Abhinash Thakur termed the move unwise. “ZTE 4G services are not working properly due to power disruption and absence of alternate supply. Why blame data users and consumers for low consumption instead of upgrading infrastructure and the overall system?” he said.