In a bid to solve the standoff between Bangalore’s local civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Bengaluru mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun has directed BBMP officials to ensure that cable operators are present during the drive to remove illegal cables in the city.
Bengaluru has been witnessing heavy internet outages in the last couple of weeks disrupting work of several IT firms located in India’s Silicon Valley. BBMP had gone ahead with their OFC cutting drive in areas of Outer Ring Road like Sarjapur Road, Whitefield, Marathahalli, Bellandur, and Sarjapur in East Bengaluru since last month.
Confirming the decision of the BBMP, the mayor told indianexpress.com that the decision was taken after a meeting was held at the BBMP headquarters in the city to solve the issue diplomatically. "We have also decided to give a three-day notice to the concerned cable operators before cutting the illegal cables. However, the drive to remove such cables will continue in the interest of the general public continuing to face issues with dangling cables in several areas in the city," mayor Gangambike said.
The COAI had earlier released a statement expressing dissent on BBMP’s action to "treat all over-the-ground cables as unauthorized."
Criticising the move, the COAI stated that though the industry had obtained all necessary permissions and had originally laid them underground. "However, the service providers were constrained to lay them overhead with the permission of BBMP as and when the same were unintentionally cut/removed during various civil works carried out by BBMP, BESCOM, BWSSB etc. The disconnection of the cable by BBMP is a huge blow to the Digital Bengaluru plan, which has the potential to cripple essential services including Point Of Sale purchase applications at retail outlets and various Government services in Bengaluru," the statement reads.
Rajan S Mathews, Director General of COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India), maintains that the operators are deeply disappointed with "the unwarranted action by the BBMP to remove the OFC cables, which has led to network outages and caused inconvenience to customers, many of whom are without connectivity." He further cites the same for having a negative impact on the overall internet connectivity and businesses of IT firms and others in the city.
However, BBMP officials add that the recent meeting held to take an amicable solution to the issue also decided to ensure that the cable cutting process should refrain from disrupting digital communication in the city, irrespective of areas whether IT firms are located or not.