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Telcos brace for Super Cyclone Amphan, ink roaming pacts, stock up diesel

Big phone companies have set in motion a slew of measures, including the setting up of virtual network monitoring war rooms, inking intra-circle roaming (ICR) pacts amongst themselves and stocking up critical spares and fuel at tower sites to ensure uninterrupted telecom and broadband connectivity in West Bengal and Odisha that will bear the brunt of Super Cyclone Amphan likely to hit these regions Wednesday afternoon.

Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (VIL) have tested ICR arrangements in advance to ensure all telecom operators in the impacted states can collaborate and use each other’s networks wherever required once Amphan strikes, and people can stay connected.

Industry circles though expect the super cyclone to cause extensive damage to telco networks and disrupt power supplies that could pose challenges in ensuring uninterrupted mobile coverage in the impacted zones.

A Bharti Airtel spokesperson said “field personnel for repairs and restoration work will be available round the clock,” adding that critical spares, fibre, batteries and diesel have been stocked at key locations for faster response and minimum downtime. Provisions, he said, have also been made for quick deployment of temporary sites (cell on wheels) in case of damage to existing sites.

A VIL spokeswoman, in turn, said that “despite the lockdown situation, the company’s disaster management teams are ready to manage any emergency, and that network monitoring will continue through its 24×7 virtual war rooms”.

The telecom department has constituted a task force comprising top officials and telco/tower company executives to review the industry’s preparedness to grapple with any eventually triggered by Amphan.

Super Cyclone Amphan is slated to generate galeforce wind speeds upto 190 kmph when it makes landfall near the Sunderbans in West Bengal late Wednesday afternoon, and impact Kolkata. and Bhubaneshwar.

—Business Journal

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