Restoration Of Telecom Services In Coastal Belt Could Take A Month!

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Bhubaneswar: It will take at least a month for normal telecommunication services to be restored in the state, a senior executive of a telecom service provider said, adding that telecom infrastructure had been badly hit by Fani in the cyclone-affected coastal districts of Odisha.

The source, who is privy to day-to-day developments and is camping in Odisha ever since cyclone Fani hit the State, told Odisha Bytes that the primary focus of service providers right now was Puri district. “Over 90 per cent of telecom infrastructure in Puri district has been damaged. Restoring them would be a Herculean task and we are running against time,” he said.

Asked about the progress made by them in restoration of telecom services in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, he said 25-30 per cent of the telecom network has been restored. “But, it would take about a month to restore normalcy as the network infrastructure is also being upgraded simultaneously. At some locations, badly damaged and twisted towers are being replaced with new ones. Much of the pace of work would depend on the restoration of power supply,” he said.

He also confided that about 10 lakh Reliance Jio subscribers “have been put” on the existing Airtel infrastructure, following a direction from the Centre. This has put additional burden on the Airtel network and led to congestion in services, including access to Internet facilities.

“Once the restoration exercise is completed, service providers would need to do a detailed safety audit and thread-bare analysis to prevent collapse in services in the event of another calamity hitting the State. We were already in the midst of augmentation of service as there is a capacity constraint in Odisha, especially in the coastal belt. A couple of service providers were already working in this direction, but the cyclone has spoiled all the efforts,” he said.

Apart from the state-run BSNL, the other service providers in Odisha are Vodafone, Airtel and Reliance Jio.

Earlier on Friday, the state government said restoration of telecommunication networks in cyclone-affected districts is going on at a war-footing. The statement also said that 75 per cent of telecommunication and Internet connectivity has been provided to banks in Bhubaneswar.

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