5 lakh faults on BSNL broadband in Chennai circle each year
CHENNAI: If you live in the city or its suburbs and have experienced the BSNL broadband connection suddenly conking off in the middle of a chat with a relative abroad or while sending an official email, you are not alone. Chennai Telephones, the BSNL circle which covers Chennai, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur districts, is literally swamped by complaints -5 lakh every year in the previous two financial years.
The details were furnished by Chennai Telephones to an RTI petition by OnlineRti.com. In 2014-15, 5.05 lakh faluts were registered.The next year, the number dropped to 4.89 lakh. In April and May this year, 82,088 faults have been registered. The same RTI reply also shows that more than 90% of the faults are restored within 48-72 hours, the time-frame promised by BSNL through an automated SMS when a complaint is registered on helpline number 1500. When the complaint is first registered, the contact details of the field staff are sent by SMS. “But the staff never come to check. The complaint is automatically closed after 48 hours even if the fault hasn’t been restored and we have to register another complaint,” said 64-year-old Mandaveli resident M Prabhakar.
The situation is worse in the suburbs, says consumer activist T Sadagopan. “The BSNL exchanges don’t have requisite infrastructure facilities like battery back-up in case of power failures. On weekends, manpower is not available. Even government sector offices which have BSNL broadband face issues,” he said.
C K Madhivanan, general secretary of National Federation of Telecom Employees (NFTE), said faults in the Chennai zone were higher than in Bengaluru or Hyderabad. “These cities come under the entire state circle of BSNL.
So they have more resources. Chennai Telephones is unable, for example, to change cables after a fault. The extended areas of Chennai city are problematic for broadband,” he said.
BSNL officials are aware of the problems given that many broadband users are migrating to private operators as well as RailTel, despite costlier tariff. This is evident in the RTI reply which shows the number of BSNL broadband subscribers dropped from 3.42 lakh in April 2014 to 2.83 lakh in July 2016.
The Public Information Officer (PIO) of Chennai Telephones, also a general manager, admitted to TOI that the number of faults were high. He attributed it to the frequent digging of roads by Chennai Corporation and Metrowater which damaged the cables. “We have sent letters to these bodies to inform us prior to the work they carry out.
But there is hardly any response,” he said.