Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike or BBMP cutting Optical Fibre Cables in Bengaluru is leading to massive communication outages and could bring the Silicon Valley to a digital standstill. BBMP passed an order to snap all optical fibre cables passing through trees, building, towers and electric poles. The reason stated for the removal of fibre cables was that the cables were affecting the visual beauty of the city and proving hazardous to the pedestrians walking underneath.
Fibre optic cables are essential for seamless connectivity. These cables are used to carry data signals over huge distances with higher throughput rates than those achievable through electrical communication. These cables have been touted as the futuristic highways, critical to blistering data speeds and seamless connectivity.
Why is BBMP cutting optical fibre cables in Bengaluru?
While the municipal body has claimed that they are snapping the cables in public interest, numerous people are actually suffering due to sudden network outages and a loss of connectivity. Industries across the city of Bengaluru, as well as individuals will face connectivity issues and register humongous losses if this is allowed to continue. The telecom industry is keen to resolve all issues, amicably, cooperating with BBMP, wherever required.
Currently, there are no concrete policies in Bengaluru that can ensure streamlined provisioning of telecom infrastructure in the state. The Government of Karnataka needs to formulate a state tower policy. The ‘Right of Way’ policy was designed to facilitate unhindered deployment of critical telecom tower infrastructure lawfully and with ease. Several other Indian states have deployed this policy, at ground level.
With the ever-expanding digital footprint, the problem magnified over the coming years. Due to inadequate permissions and no Right of Way rules, cables were not laid underground in Bengaluru.
What does the Government have to say about this?
Mr. N. Sivasailam, Special Secretary (T), said at a COAI & LIRNEasia ‘ICT access in India’ report launch that he was disappointed to hear what had happened in Bengaluru and that it was a major setback to the Digital India mission, which aims to connect every part of the country with high speed fibre. He emphasised that now that the cables have been cut, even if they are joined back, there will be a loss of quality in the data speeds and service. He also stressed that such actions were bamboozling to him as he saw fibre as one of the most beautiful things around him as it connects people and lives and lets them create beautiful memories. He urged everyone to create a hashtag #fibreisbeautiful to inform against such actions and thinking.
Special Secretary (T) @nsivasailam believes fibre cutting in Bengaluru for beautification was a setback: 1. Even when the fibre is re-connected, the data-flow/speed might be affected 2. Fibre is the future of high-speed Internet and should be seen as beautiful. #fibreisbeautiful pic.twitter.com/kzqyQAO9bZ
— COAI (@ConnectCOAI) August 24, 2018
What’s the solution to fibre cutting in Bengaluru?
Keeping in perspective that the city will apparently come to a virtual standstill, the BBMP should hold joint discussions with the industry, before resorting to such arbitrary actions. Business and life would come to a halt if such a drive continues unabated.
Requisite policy reforms are absolutely indispensable, if we are to turn the vision of Digital India, Smart Cities and cashless economy into a resounding reality. As the city is progressing at a stupendous rate, an OH (Over Head) policy is something that the state department should adopt.