Drive against overhead cables brings woes to city people

Service providers say undergrounding takes time

Rashad Ahamad | Published: 01:03, Sep 25,2020


Dhaka South City Corporation’s unplanned drive against overhead cables have disrupted cable television, internet and telephone services at many parts of the city causing woes to thousands of people.

The service providers said that the city corporation started the drive without giving them underground set-up facility causing immense sufferings to the public.

Officials of both of the city corporations in Dhaka said that overhead cables were a long-pending issue as the service providing agencies did not relocate their lines underground even after repeated warnings.

Finally DSCC has started a drive against overhead cables to reduce risks, restore the beauty of the city since September 01 and DNCC would start soon, they said.

Arifur Rahman, an employee of a non-government organisation, said that his internet connection was cut off at a time when he was doing his office virtually from home for the coronavirus epidemic.

‘What should I say to my office now and how can I blame my internet service provider after knowing the fact,’ he said.

Arifur Rahman is one among thousands of people. City dwellers from all walks of life, including students, teachers and jobholders living in Jatrabari, Baily Road, Chankharpool, Kalabagan, Kathalbagan, Postagola and Elephant road facing same problem as dish, internet and telephone connection of the areas was disrupted.

Jahangirnagar University urban planning professor and Bangladesh Institute of Planners general secretary Adil Mohammed Khan said that in a planned city cable lines for the essential services like dish, internet and telephone should be underground. 

Residents said that for the failure of the agencies, their lack of coordination, created sufferings for thousands of people.

MA Hakim, president of Internet Service Provider Owners Association of Bangladesh, said that they had requested the mayor not to cut off the lines until underground cables were installed, but they started the drive anyway.

‘We have no permission for running underground cables. A third party engagement is required do the job, so in many areas of the city, undergrounding has not yet been completed,’ he said.

Hakim said that the entity operators claimed that they have 100 per cent network coverage in the city but, in reality 80 to 85 per cent area remain outside the ambit of the network.

He said that until the entity operators complete their networking they would not replace the overhead cables.

Officials said that Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission gave underground line running licence to three private agencies — Summit Communications Limited, [email protected] Ltd and Bahon Ltd for creating underground connectivity.

[email protected] deputy general manager Sarfuddin Bhuiyan Mahdi said that they started installing underground line in 2009 and set up over 900 kilometres of fibre lines in the last 11 years but cable operators did not use the lines.

‘It is not possible to install the network all of a sudden in so many areas ensuring door-to-door connection. It would take time,’ he said.

The Dhaka South city mayor had declared in an event held at Dhaka Mohanagar Mohila College on August 10 that he would make Dhaka an overhead cable-free city.

He said that all cables set up by government and private entities would be cut to make the city cable jangle-free by December.

On September 01, DSCC magistrates started the drive against overhead cables and already disconnected dish, internet and telephone lines at Jatrabari, Chankharpool, Bangabazar, Postagola, Elephant Road, CR Datta Road, Baily Road and Dhaka Medical College and Dhaka University, among many other areas.

DSCC chief estate officer Rasel Sabrin said that as per the declaration of the city mayor they were conducting drives against illegal grabbers and overhead illegal cables.

He said that the service providers illegally use electric poles making the city look dirty.

‘DSCC will continue the drive against all types of overhead cables,’ he said.

SM Anwar Parvez, founding president of the Cable Owners Association of Bangladesh, said the entity operators have tertiary lines in some areas but no lines under lanes and bylanes for household connection.

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