Telephone services in many parts of the northern state of Jammu & Kashmir in India has been disrupted by the snow. Local media reports that the service provider BSNL’s fiber optic cables are broken near Jawahar tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
BSNL, the state owned telecommunication service provider of India said the signal on their mobile phones was completely lost as they could not make any calls. The cables connecting to the region has broken and the crew is struggling to restore the services by repairing the cable. Optical fiber cables provide connectivity to the mobile stations and other telephone exchanges.
BSNL’s fixed line subscribers said the network was lost for several hours during which they could neither receive nor make any calls. Broadband subscribers also raised complaints of disrupted services. Subscribers were unaware of the damages happened to the cables and were concerned. Even the contact numbers of the BSNL were also not working.
Many of BSNL subscribers who had visited its headquarters and other bill payment counters for payment of mobile and landline bills had to return disappointed due to the system failure.
A BSNL official said the optical fibre cable which runs underground usually gets cut due to landslides. The provider has set-ups in Jammu and Chandigarh on which the telecommunication system of the Valley is hugely dependent. Any problem in the optical fibre cable completely snaps telecommunication connectivity.
BSNL make use of the optical fibre cable owned by the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) also. This cable was also suffered disruption due to the avalanche and landslides due to snow. PGCIL optical fibre cable was restored later in the day.
Snow often cause damage to the optical fiber cables. Aerial cables are more exposed to the effects of snowfall. Snow accumulates on the aerial cables that increases the weight of the installed span. If the snow accumulations exert more weight on the cable than allowed by the cable design, the cable and the fibers start breaking. There are occasions when the snow accumulated on the cable stats melting in the morning that causes galloping of the cable.
Later when contacted, Muhammad Zaffar Iqbal, General Manager, BSNL (Kashmir) said restoration of the snapped optical fibre was done by a team of technicians from Jammu. BSNL has around 13 million subscribers in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.