Kochi

Finally, their phones start ringing

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End to connectivity woes of nearly 2,000 families at Vengoor

For years, Jijo Varghese, a civil police officer, used to keep his mobile phone in a hanging pot for plants at his home at Kozhikottukulangara in Vengoor panchayat near Perumbavoor town.

It wasn’t some weird habit but an ingenious method devised out of desperation to keep his phone in an elevated area to connect to whatever feeble network which was available. When even that didn’t work, he had to run in search of an elevated area to get that elusive call or message, making him a subject of ridicule even in the eyes of his wife who hailed from a rather connectivity-rich Paravur town.

For nearly 2,000 families spread over four wards in Vengoor panchayat, communication was all about those many sprints to select points where their mobile phones could be within “range”, albeit marginally.

Their lives changed last Wednesday when the mobile tower of a private telecom player was eventually commissioned, putting an end to their connectivity woes.

“We were like outcasts from a medieval era when people right next to us were connected all the time. It was so bad that students and employees had to live on rent at Kuruppampady, some 8 km from our place,” said Mr. Varghese, who was the prime mover behind the campaign for better connectivity.

He initiated a mass signature campaign and petitioned the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and a Malayali officer there directed the petitioners to the private telecom player. Things moved fast thereafter and a temple management at Vakkuvalli allotted five cents for setting up the tower.

“Normally, people protest against mobile towers, but here people were pleading for granting the No Objection Certificate for the tower without delay. It was issued within a week,” said M.A. Shaji, president, Vengoor panchayat.

When eventually the tower was commissioned, there was a festive atmosphere with people queuing up in front of stalls put up by the telecom operator selling new connections and number portability.

“From the first day, traffic hit a height of 250 GB a day, showing how data hungry the people were. In the days since, the traffic has increased by 40GB a day and we are confident of touching 350-400 GB a day by the end of the month,” an executive of the telecom operator said.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 7:11:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/finally-their-phones-start-ringing/article30064609.ece

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