Optical fibre cable ducts come to Whitefield

From The Hindu

Whitefield residents, frustrated with their roads being dug up literally every other day by telecom firms, are now heaving a sigh of relief as their neighbourhood is in the process of becoming the first area to have Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) ducts. At present, only TenderSURE roads have service ducts.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is now laying OFC ducts below the pedestrian pathway on a 7-km-stretch from Marathahalli to Hope Farm, part of the signal-free corridor from M.G. Road to Hope Farm. BBMP is footing the additional bill of Rs. 13 crore for the ducts. Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) will be charged a ground rent to use these ducts.

A senior BBMP official said Whitefield has an ever-increasing demand for broadband as it also houses the IT corridor, and this leads to repeated digging up of the roads in the area.

Water supply and sanitation pipelines that are also being newly laid in the area have been completed in this particular stretch. While the sanitation lines are under the road carriageway, the water supply lines are also laid under the footpath. The OFC ducts will ensure that there is no unnecessary digging up of roads.

Nitya Ramakrishnan of Whitefield Rising said the residents are frustrated over the repeated digging up of newly laid roads in the last two years, and multiple initiatives to coordinate with various civic agencies have clearly failed.

Former chief secretary Kaushik Mukherjee had almost given carte blanche permission to telecom firms to dig in the city in June 2015. He had also directed BBMP officials not to stop work at any cost. This worsened the situation, triggering protests by residents across the city.

R.K. Mishra, member, Technical Advisory Committee, BBMP, said laying OFC ducts in the area is a welcome move. “This is the right course for the city to take. We want the idea to be implemented, not just across the area, but all across the city,” he said. However, he alleged that TSPs were not coming forward to put in funds as a consortium to lay ducts and use them, which would essentially solve the issue of road digging in the city.

Not on this stretch

However, these ducts are not being laid in the M.G. Road–Marathahalli stretch of the signal-free corridor, as BBMP officials claim that this stretch is saturated with telecom connection and OFC infrastructure, and hence less prone to digging by telecom companies.

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