Bengaluru: Centre’s rule on overhead cables puts BBMP in bind | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Bengaluru, which is reeling under the menace of overhead lines, is set to be further crisscrossed by cables with the Centre permitting service providers to draw overground optical fibre (OFC).
While the move is to enhance digital infrastructure and faster internet connectivity, it has put BBMP in a fix since the high court has directed the civic agency to remove all overhead cables.
The department of telecommunication (DoT) has amended the Indian Telegraph Right of Way (RoW) rules allowing overhead OFC lines with a lifetime licence fee of Rs 1,000 per km. So far, laying OFC lines has been confined to underground and the Centre has asked all states to comply with the new rules as the general observation is that the civil works entailed in the process of laying underground cable is causing delay. However, the new rules come at a time when BBMP is complying with the HC order and the case is still pending.
The city has 25,000km of overhead cables dangling and overlapping. The commutative length of underground cable is just about 5,000km. And the worry is that the length of overhead cables is likely to increase exponentially making the underground less preferred. “Overhead cables are likely to pose a bigger problem of frequent internet outage as they get snapped due to rain and wind. While this poses a maintenance challenge, it disrupts business continuity,” urbanist V Ravichandar said.
“The overhead cables are only a temporary arrangement and we have regularised to enable the service providers to provide connections quickly and it is imperative when working from home is becoming the norm. The service providers will provide the connections through underground cables since it is the permanent feature,” said a senior DoT official.
Even cable operators and internet service providers acknowledge the concerns as they urge the state to come up with comprehensive and clear-cut guidelines that help both service providers and citizens. “It was a long-pending demand. We are happy that it has been done now,” said Patrick Raju, president of Karnataka State Cable TV Operators Association.
Naresh V Narasimhan urban designer, said: “This is only a temporary issue since the emerging technology of satellite-based internet will eliminate the cables. Till then the government should ensure a balance between adequate broadband connectivity and safety.”

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Sagar Biswas

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