The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has protested what it says is the 'unannounced removal of overhead optical fibre cables by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike or BBMP' leading to connectivity outage and inconvenience in the city.

Lt. General S.P Kochhar, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), stated in a release, “We are disappointed with the unwarranted actions taken by the BBMP to remove the OFC cables. It has led to network outages and has caused inconvenience to customers. This action will also impact overall internet connectivity and businesses, especially IT firms in the city and the people working from home in the present situation of Covid.”

No prior intimation

The removal of the optical fibres is being conducted without prior intimation to the Telecommunications Service Priority (TSPs) at various locations, including Kaggadasapura; Yellankha zone; and Mahadevapura zone, the association claimed.

Also, the COAI thinks that the disconnection of the cable by BBMP is a huge blow to the Digital Bengaluru plan, which will severely impact essential services, including Point of Sale purchase applications at retail outlets and various government services in Bengaluru.

COAI, as a representative body, had requested BBMP to grant a reasonable time of at least six months to its member to install the Overhead Open Fiber Control (OFC) underground. Since all the OFC were laid after obtaining requisite permission from the concerned authorities and making payment by existing rules and regulations.

“We have requested that no additional fees should be charged from the members for making the overhead OFC, underground. Further, till that time no coercive steps need to be taken by the authorities for removal of the overhead OFC belonging to our members as any such action will have a direct impact on the services being provided by our members and will create problems for public at large. However, BBMP have again started the fibre cut drive in key areas in Bengaluru” the COAI officials said.

Karnataka has over 1,46,300 Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) and 43,900 towers installed to support telephone, mobile and internet communications. COAI said that it was constrained to lay the overhead fibre with the permission of BBMP as and when they were unintentionally cut and removed during various civil works carried out by BBMP, BESCOM, BWSSB and other city agencies.