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Govt issues directive to start intra-circle roaming in Himachal Pradesh

The government has directed telecom operators to enable intra-circle roaming in Himachal Pradesh as the region continues to face heavy rains which may cause disruption in connectivity, industry executives said.

While there has been no major damage to telecom infrastructure like towers or radios so far, multiple areas in the affected region are facing power outages, which is affecting the running of telecom towers as well, they added.

“There has been some damage to the fibre laid along the national highway in that region, but the network engineers are working to reroute that traffic,” another executive said.

So far, there has been no major outage in connectivity due to the heavy rains in the areas like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, though pockets have been affected on account of the damage to fibre in the area.

However, a more pressing concern, telecom executives said is the power outages, if prolonged, may hamper tower operations.

“The major issue being faced is the failure of grid power supply to mobile towers in many areas. Getting backup electric supply to the affected sites is also a challenge due to inaccessibility of the roads/bridges which are damaged or submerged,” said SP Kochhar, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the industry body that represents telecom operators in the country.

The operators are monitoring the networks and working closely with the local service area teams of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) as well as with infrastructure providers (IPs) and local authorities to mitigate service disruptions and ensure speedy restoration in the rain affected areas, he added.

The government in the meantime has instructed all four operators – state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), and the three private operators – Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea to enable intra-circle roaming.

“Our members’ teams are working tirelessly to keep people connected. For e.g. Intra-Circle Roaming (ICR) is being activated in the impacted areas to enable connectivity for all users, irrespective of the operator they are subscribed to,” Kochhar said.

Intra-circle roaming allows telecom users to avail other networks’ services even while in their home region, in case their primary network faces an outage. This has been done to ensure that those in the affected areas are able to remain connected via cellular network.

Meanwhile, the Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA), the industry body representing telecom infrastructure providers has written to the Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh seeking their support during the flood situation impacting districts in their respective states.

“All our IP’s members are proactive and have taken necessary steps to ensure connectivity 24/7 in the areas which have been affected by the ongoing flood and all the background arrangements like additional DG sets, battery banks, spare parts, stocking of diesel are taken care off,” TR Dua, Director-General, Digital Infrastructure Providers Association DIPA said.

DIPA’s members include companies in the telecom infrastructure sector like ATC Telecom, Indus Towers, Tower Vision, Ascend Telecom, among others. India Posts English

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