Chennai Telephones to seek compensation from Corporation

BSNL’s internet and international call traffic in central parts of the city took a hit on Friday due to extensive damage to its optic fibre cables (OFCs).

The damage was caused during work on stormwater drainage carried out by the Chennai Corporation on Sterling Road on Thursday night.

A 1,200-pair copper cable and an 800-pair copper cable were cut, disrupting telephone services in and around Chetpet, Sait Colony and Haddows Road.

The damage to the OFCs under the Southern Telecom Region that links the main exchange at Haddows Road resulted in a breakdown of the Chetpet and Sait Colony remote exchanges.

The D-SLAM equipment on eight OFC lines were also damaged, resulting in disruption of broadband services to several exchanges in the central business district as well as exchanges like Kilpauk and Kellys.

The long-distance fibre cable serving connectivity to Andhra and Karnataka were also affected and Chennai Telephones has indicated that this could cause disruption in the STD traffic between Chennai and these places.

While Chennai Telephones had provided alternative routers immediately after some of its telephone exchanges went down to salvage local/STD signal pathways, it would take at least four days to restore broadband and international long-distance services to normality, G. Vijaya, BSNL Chennai Telephones spokesperson said.

BSNL will seek compensation from the Corporation for an estimated loss in excess of Rs. 40 lakh.

While the monetary loss is roughly estimated at Rs. 30 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh, the loss of revenue due to the disruption of broadband and long-distance calls would run into a few lakhs. In addition, BSNL would have to counter subscriber ire on account of the disruption of services, the spokesperson said.

What has irked Chennai Telephones is the fact that the Corporation had not informed their officials of the stormwater works. As the work was carried out during night hours and no prior intimation was given regarding the time of digging, BSNL could not deploy line staff at the spot to minimise the damage.

“At the same time, it is observed that a private operator’s cables were restored immediately leading (us) to believe that the other operator had been intimated well in advance (by the Corporation),” Chennai Telephones stated.

BSNL’s restoration efforts are also being hampered by the heavy waterlogging inside the ducts. The density of traffic in the affected area is also slowing down repair works. “We expect that it may take another four days to set right the damage,” Ms. Vijaya said.

More In: Chennai | News