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Chandigarh: No respite from network outages soon
The Chandigarh Administration has received nearly 100 applications in the past 15 days for ramping up telecom infrastructure in the city by mobile service providers as residents have been complaining of call drops and poor mobile connectivity for the past many months. However, all applications were incomplete as these have not attached the documents required as per the new Right of Way (RoW) policy notified in February 2021.
The submission of incomplete documents shows the callous attitude of service providers towards customers, said sources. So, the applications were sent back to the service providers and they were asked by the administration to submit these again with all documents. It is pertinent to mention here that if an application is in proper order, it takes around 60 days to get permission.
According to sources, network outages is not restricted to a particular one player, but more or less the subscribers of all telecom players are experiencing these as the infrastructure was not expanded in sync with demand.
According to the Administration, only 21 telecom towers were installed in the city last fiscal year, despite Internet usage and broadband traffic surged in double digit, which, at times, clogged the network leading to call drops and slow speed. Besides, the permission for 12 tower is pending. Overall, in Chandigarh, there are around 762 telecom towers.
Perturbed over poor signals, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mandip Singh Brar had recently instructed the telecom players to take steps to improve signal reception.
It is an open secret that amid the lockdown period, several organisations resorted to work from home and others adopted e-learning and e-services, which resulted in an upsurge in broadband traffic and Internet usage.
Now, the question arises why mobile service providers did not ramp up the infrastructure despite the fact that voice and data consumption increased significantly when the coronanvirus-induced lockdown was announced in March last year.
The sources said owing to the lockdown, some of the players did not expand their infrastructure while the others were waiting for the new RoW policy which was notified in February 2021 as getting permission in previous policy was a Herculean task.
An email sent to all three prominent telecom players, namely Vodafone-Idea, Airtel and Reliance Jio, regarding reasons behind network outages and what they are doing to make customer experience better in Punjab Circle (as Chandigarh comes under it) did not elicit any response. Despite repeated attempts, the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) did not respond. The Tribune India
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