BBMP on the warpath with telecom, ISPs

April 27, 2019 12:38 am | Updated 12:38 am IST - Bengaluru

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has begun removing overhanging optic-fibre cables (OFCs) from many parts of the city after receiving complaints from citizens. This, however, has got telecom and internet service providers (ISPs) up in arms.

The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) has objected to the BBMP’s move and claimed that this was a “huge blow to the Digital Bengaluru plan.”

Claiming that the BBMP’s “indiscriminate cutting of cables” could cripple essential services, COAI has written to the Union Department of Telecommunications, the Karnataka government’s Chief Secretary, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Whitefield.

Ranjan S. Mathews, Director General of COAI, told The Hindu that the association was apprehensive of “coercive actions that will have a huge impact on the connectivity in the IT capital of India”.

“The BBMP is treating all over-the-ground cables as unauthorised though the service providers have obtained permission. The cables were originally laid underground. However, due to various civil works, the service providers, with permission, had drawn them overhead,” he claimed.

Citizens’ groups are hailing the BBMP’s move and said the overhanging cables were not just affecting the city’s aesthetics, but also inconveniencing pedestrians.

A representative from Whitefield Rising said the issue of overhanging cables drawn and bunched up on electricity poles and trees had been raised several times by the group, the Bellandur Forum, and Doddanekkundi Rising.

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said the civic body had asked telecom and ISPs to upload information on the permissions given on a GIS platform. “BBMP officials have been removing only cables that have been drawn illegally by the service providers and cable operators. If there are any specific instances where the cables that have the requisite permissions have been cut, we will take suitable action to remedy the same,” he said.

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