Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is offering free talktime worth Rs 200 to its customers. This is not for everyone. Only customers from the Thoothukudi district are eligible for the offer. Prepaid customers can avail of the offer between December 25th and December 29th. This is due to the flood that has affected the people living in the region. BSNL is also allowing customers of other telecom operators to use its network and stay connected to the outside world through intra-circle roaming (ICR).
According to a report from TheNewIndianExpress, D Tamizhmani, Chief General Manager for BSNL Tamil Nadu, the BTS (Base Trans-receiver Station) should be placed four feet above the ground in flood-prone regions. The reason for this is to keep the BTS from being damaged. Heavy damage caused by the flood is estimated to have occurred to over 70% of the BTS in all taluks. According to the report, many regions close to BSNL have lost BSNL’s optical fiber cable (OFC).
Tamizhmani has reported that damage has caused 69 BTS attached to nine exchanges to be unable to operate. Over 200 people, including 100 technical experts, are currently working to restore them. The state-run telco has numerous base stations in rural areas, compared to private telecom operators. The Chief GM at BSNL stated that a faster evacuation from flood-hit areas could have been achieved if the cellular towers were not damaged.
BSNL has installed two CoW (Cell on Wheel) vehicles at the collectorate and Eral, in addition to ICR. BSNL has been able to get networks up and running in multiple areas. Tamizhmani stated that 90% of the FTTH (fiber-to-the-Home) internet connections have been reconnected and he is currently working on restoring the remaining ones as quickly as possible.