Karnataka Government Directs BBMP to Provide Adequate Time to Telcos for Laying Cables Underground

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Karnataka government has directed Bengaluru municipal body to provide adequate time to telecom operators for laying cables underground, amid the authority snapping cables laid overhead, according to an industry body. Against the backdrop of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) deciding to cut telecom cables laid overhead citing that such connections violate existing norms, telecom players had raised the issue with the state government. Telecom players grouping COAI's Director General Rajan S Mathews told PTI that the Karnataka government has now asked the BBMP to prepare a road map for routes where ducts have to be laid for telecom cables.

Mathews said Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development Department Mahendra Jain has asked BBMP not to take any action without serving notice and giving sufficient time to telecom service providers.

"He (Jain) has also asked the BBMP to provide a route for laying ducts (for telecom cables) in 15 days," Mathews said. The development assumes significance as some telecom players had claimed that BBMP cut cables laid overhead despite fee being paid to the authority for laying the cables under the ground.

According to Mathews, Jain has also asked BBMP to allow the aerial laying of telecom cables on poles in areas where they cannot be laid underground.

"BBMP Commissioner has called for a meeting of engineers to discuss cable layout plan. He will share the map and other details once it is ready. It is a big relief for industry from Karnataka government," he noted.

Industry grouping Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) said BBMP's drive to cut cables laid over the ground is a paradoxical move as new telecom policy and numerous court judgements emphasise that no coercive actions should be initiated without prior notice.

"The suo-motu surprise cutting of fibre across areas like Sarjapur Road, Whitefield, Marathahalli, Bellandur and Sarjapur without any prior intimation to telecom industry has adversely impacted the overall internet connectivity in the city... (this has also) impacted critical services like digital financial transactions, transportations, healthcare and other emergency services," TAIPA claimed.

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