Telecom operators cry foul over Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike anti-cable drive

BENGALURU:  The ongoing drive by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike against illegal optical fibre cables laid by telecom operators has attracted criticism by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Saturday.

The association said that cables laid legally by its members were also being cut. While the city could wear a clean look if the BBMP continues with its drive against OFC cables and illegal banners, the COAI in a statement on Saturday asked the government to hold talks with service providers to come up with a solution as the city’s cellular and data network was seeing large scale disruptions because of what the COAI termed as a ‘sudden directive’ of the BBMP.

The statement, issued by the Director General of COAI, an industry association of telecom companies, states that consumers across Bengaluru and other parts of the state were facing issues because of the drive. “We are disheartened with the sudden and unwarranted action by the BBMP to remove the OFC cables which is leading to huge outages and inconvenience to the subscribers in densely populated areas and the industry, that too without any prior notice.”

The COAI has also accused the BBMP of affecting at least 700 mobile towers across seven zones in Bengaluru with their drive against OFC cables. “We would like to highlight that all our members are fully compliant with the rules and regulations of the concerned authorities. Irrespective of that, the cables have been removed.”

The association also accused the civic body of charging payments over and above what was agreed to in an agreement signed in 2014. “BBMP has been insisting on payments beyond what was agreed between the concerned parties in the MOU, dated 28.03.2014.

The industry has been trying to resolve the issue but the BBMP has frequently been involved in cutting the cables and disrupting the service,” the statement said. Terming the drive as a ‘setback to Prime Minister’s Digital India push’, the association in a veiled threat said that this type of activity would lead to companies looking at alternative cities and states which ‘have a more progressive approach’.

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