Following the catastrophic flood crisis in Kerala, the telecom operators have been successful in restoring network in 98% of areas and towers across the state as highlighted by Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan. The Secy has published statistics about the condition of telecom infrastructure in the state after reviewing the situation post the flood crisis. Further, the Telecom Commission has highlighted that the rest 2% of the telecom towers and infrastructure will be restored as soon as the water recedes in the Kuttanad area.
The review of the conditions revealed that out of the 190 fibre optic cables which suffered damage, 168 had been restored, of the 85,900 base transceiver stations (BTS) installed in the state, 23,552 BTS suffered damage because of the water. Out of this total number, 22,217 BTS have been restored, and 131 telephone exchanges have also been repaired. The total loss to telecom service providers and infrastructure providers following the worst downpour in the state has been pegged to be around Rs 350 crore.
However, although the situations are recovering, the authorities are putting in intense efforts to keep the telecom infrastructure up and running. 400+ tower sites in the submerged areas are functioning on diesel-based generators due to power shortage and refuelling the generators is a big task in itself for the operators now. As reported by the officials, more than 20% of the state’s total telecom infrastructure has suffered damage. The districts of Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Ernakulam and Thrissur have been listed as one of the worst affected places in the state.
Like we said above, the district of Kuttanad remains in distress because of the flood even now. The restoration services have targeted Kuttanad as the district with top priority for providing relief. The government has asked the service providers to cooperate with the task and have urged that even before the citizens leave the relief centres, the telecom network should be up and running. For other areas, the service providers have been given a month’s time to restore cellular connectivity.
Telecom Secretary, Aruna Sundararajan said, “The state government has put in much effort to make sure that all telecom service providers could restore connectivity at the earliest.” This news is reported by ET.
Following the happenings, in Kerala, the department has decided that the standard operating procedure (SOP) for telecommunication services for responding to disasters will be revised to include better methods based on learnings from the current incident. The authorities have been asked to review the current SOPs. A national workshop involving all states and stakeholders will be conducted where new points will be discussed to refine the existing SOPs.