The chaos of internet and cable TV connections across the Dhaka metropolis is an old problem. The sight of the cables everywhere in residential and commercial areas of Dhaka metropolis, cannot be the image of a capital city of any civilised country. No effective and practical initiative has ever been taken to solve this problem. However, the power division has been talking about removing these overhead cables for many years. We have been hearing of their efforts since 2010, but these were never implemented.
The Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) and the Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB) recently called a strike when the Dhaka South City Corporation began a drive to remove the overhead cables. The two groups called off the strike after the government agreed not to remove anymore cables.
Therefore, the problem remains the same. Talks between the minister of posts and telecommunications, the LGRD minister, the minister of state for ICT, the DCC mayor, the prime minister's private industry and investment adviser and others have been reported in the media. SCC mayor Fazle Noor Taposh announced that the drive to remove overhead cables would be stopped.
It has been said that the internet and cable TV service providers will have to take these connections underground by next November. The DCC will not demand any compensation for road digging.
During the ongoing pandemic, when a lot of office work and studies is being done online, internet communication should not be disrupted
There are doubts as to whether the directive to take all overhead cables underground will be implemented within this stipulated time. It is not clear how the internet and cable TV service providers will do this on their own. Six companies have been allowed to install underground fiber optic lines for internet connection. Some companies have already done this in part. In the meanwhile, the chaos that will be created as a result of talking to the internet service providers about digging roads on their own initiative will further complicate the ongoing problem. Apart from that, legal complications can also occur.
Initiatives should be taken to use the underground infrastructure that has already been built to take the cables to the houses. In this case integrated management is required. The city corporation's main concern was the beauty of the city and it took the initiative to remove the cables to restore that. Apart from the beauty of the city, it is important to remember that overhead cables can be a risk factor for accidents.
The cables need to be removed and taken underground, keeping in mind that ensuring uninterrupted internet and cable TV services for city dwellers is also very important. Especially during the ongoing pandemic, when a lot of office work and studies is being done online, internet communication should not be disrupted.
The suspension of the strike by ISPAB and COAB is good, but we need to make sure that the same problem does not arise again at the end of November. Without alternative measures, the drive must not be repeated, followed by yet another strike. A permanent solution is imperative.