How telecom 'warriors' coming to rescue of all

How telecom ‘warriors’ coming to rescue of all
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How telecom ‘warriors’ coming to rescue of all

Highlights

During the present pandemic of Covid-19, front line warriors like doctors/ para-medical staff, police personnel and sanitation staff are doing a commendable job

During the present pandemic of Covid-19, front line warriors like doctors/ para-medical staff, police personnel and sanitation staff are doing a commendable job. Their super human efforts are worth appreciating.

Similarly, the services of telecom personnel are also praiseworthy during this unprecedented situation. Because of their efforts, we are able to sustain such a prolonged lock down.

People are able to be 'in touch' with one another, in spite of the isolation due to lockdown, because of telecom networks. 'Commute less and Communicate more' has become very apt now. BSNL land line or FTTH (Fibre to the Home) voice facility is highly suitable for long duration conversation. People are having enough leisure time at home now to indulge in long talks with their near and dear ones, enquiring their wellbeing during these troubled times.

Through these networks and voice facility of mobile/FTTH networks, people are communicating, maintaining social distance, leading a normal life, mentally at least. As many migrant labourers have reverse migrated from urban to rural areas, traffic, especially voice one, might have increased in rural areas. The migrant labourers should be given FMNP (Full Mobile Number Portability facility) at their doorstep so that they can use their existing SIM without paying roaming charges at their native places.

Since BSNL is having better coverage in rural areas, they should proactively approach the reverse migrated labourers and issue new SIMs or do FMNP. They may also design tailor made package for these people. Data traffic has increased by 30 per cent during this lockdown. Online education, online meetings, online court proceedings, online banking, online payments, online shopping, online consultancy, online entertainment, and so on, have become the order of the day.

Because of work from home (WFH) scenario, traffic has shifted from offices to residences. TSPs(Telecom Service Providers) may have to reorient the antennas of the BTSs (BaseTransmitting Stations) from office localities towards residential localities. Traffic handling capacity of BTS sectors towards residential localities may have to be augmented. They have to provide adequate signal in hitherto uncovered areas so that customers there can do work from home without any hitch.

As companies have allowed their employees to work from home anywhere, some might have shifted to their native villages and adequate data signals are required there. Some companies have indicated that work from home has become a new normal and may continue even after this pandemic.

Quick provision of FTTH/ mobile connection has to be ensured by telecom service providers (TSPs). Just on phone call, prospective customer should get a connection at his doorstep by submitting POI(Proof of Identity)/POA (Proof of Address)and photograph. TSPs have to provide in-built Wi-Fi facility along with FTTH connection which facilitates the customer to do his office work any where from home. VDI(Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) interface for the FTTH signal has to be ensured. The UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) supplied along with FTTH connection should give adequate backup to take care of power interruptions in rural areas.

TSPs have to quickly install BTSs to provide signal coverage. State/central governments should allow their buildings for installation of towers which can be shared by all operators. DOT (Department of Telecom) should insist the TSPs to share their infra so that customers are benefited. Intra circle roaming should be encouraged by DOT. Local authorities should allow TSPs to install towers even during lock down/even in containment areas so that customers are not inconvenienced because of lack of adequate signal. Installation of tower should not be construed as a construction activity (which is not allowed during lock down) as it is not a permanent structure like a building.

Telecom staff are doing a great job silently by ensuring good availability of telecom networks. Local authorities should allow telecom personnel to restore the faulty BTSs on 24x7 basis even in containment zones. They should be allowed to attend the optical fibre faults by laying overhead cables.

Telecom infra has become centre platform for all the sectors during this pandemic.

These telecom warriors should also be given priority like front line warriors in administering the Covid-19 vaccine.

The author is retired Advisor, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) Government of India

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