Removal stops for World Cup
Although the 23-kilometre overhead data cables between Uttara and Shahbagh had been shifted to underground, steps to clean more parts of Dhaka city are yet to see any progress.
Under a project that seeks to remove overhead cables from Dhaka, data cables on the main streets between Shahbagh and Motijheel were supposed to be moved underground by the end of February.
According to power ministry officials, the equipment required for the shifting are not yet in place.
“We cannot remove the cables unless the underground duct is ready,” said Anwar Hossain, deputy secretary of the power ministry.
However, spokesperson of two National Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN) companies that are responsible for underground equipment claimed the duct ready.
Meanwhile, members of the supervising committee of the project said no work has been done on the scheme over the past month and the initiative is unlikely to make any headway till the cricket world cup ends.
“With the world cup going on, the city corporation would not allow digging the main roads,” said Emdadul Huq, member of the supervising committee.
As a result, large underground equipment for relocating overhead cables is resting above ground.
Apart from being an eyesore, haphazard overhead data cables also put an extra weight on electric poles creating chances of accidents. As a solution, NTTN companies Summit Communications Ltd and Fiber@home Ltd were awarded the responsibility to prepare a countrywide underground optical fibre network — a subterranean common duct to move the cables.
Internet service providers and cable operators of the city were supposed to start moving their cables underground from this October, after the underground network had been ready. The NTTN companies would maintain the network in exchange for a monthly charge from the service providers.
But the service providers complained of technological challenges and costs rising with the shifting. They dawdled from moving their cables for long.
It was not until this January when the cables finally started to disappear from the city landscape following a crackdown on the data lines. The drive caused Dhaka dwellers lose internet and cable TV connectivity for hours.
But as the drive moved towards the city’s commercial hub Motijheel, the authorities had to think twice.
“A minute of non-connectivity to internet in Motijheel area can cause a huge loss of money,” said power ministry officials, adding, “We are now waiting for the underground network to be ready.”
Meanwhile, the authorities are planning to expand the network towards Dhanmondi Russell Square, said the officials.
The underground network is a robust infrastructure that would provide uninterrupted service without being affected by any disasters.
NTTN officials said the network gives unlimited capacity for data transfer and would need no revamps or updates in ten years.
Meanwhile, urban experts have raised concerns that the underground network may not be able to handle the increasing number of internet users and cable TV viewers.
The authorities may have to dig the streets in regular intervals to increase the capacity of equipment so that it can meet public demand, added the experts.
Courtesy of The Daily Star