The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which leases poles on major Mumbai flyovers to Telecommunications Service Providers (TSPs) or Infrastructure Providers (IPs) for the installation of their transmitter station equipment – basic reception (BTS) for the telecommunication network, deactivated more than 329 equipment for non-payment of rent.
The move raised concerns about the disruption of telecom services in the city and the union’s Department of Communications Department of Telecommunications also wrote to the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra to draw his attention to the matter and asked him to give appropriate instructions to MSRDC, the state-owned enterprise. corporation, in order to avoid interruption of telecommunications services in Mumbai during the critical phase of Covid.
The Union Ministry sent a letter after the Cellular Operators Association of India (COA) letter on the matter.
The MSRDC, however, told The Indian Express that the disconnection was done as the contract period had come to an end and the contractor had failed to pay the rent of Rs 30 crore.
BTS is equipment used to establish or improve cellular and internet connectivity. The equipment works as a replacement for the huge mobile towers which cannot be installed in a city like Mumbai due to space constraints.
According to the MSRDC, there are more than 450 poles on the various structures of flyovers and bridges which have been leased by them for a period of five years to companies through a tender process.
Officials said the BTS equipment was seized because the company, Suyog Telematics, which took the poles on rent, failed to pay the rent even after several notices were given to them.
Suyog Telematics had leased 329 poles in January 2016 and the contract period ended in December.
As these hub sites were shut down by the MSRDC, the Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA), a supreme representative body of digital infrastructure providers in India, wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asking for urgent intervention to maintain the 24×7 telecommunications and internet connectivity. .
COAI also wrote to the Ministry of Communications, Department of Telecommunications, after which K Rajaraman, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Union Department of Telecommunications, wrote to the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra.
In the letter, the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, COAI, requested that attention be given to the matter to give proper instructions to the MSRDC. the state-owned company to avoid disruption of telecommunications services in Mumbai at this critical phase of the COVID situation.
Subsequently, the Chief Secretary wrote, “I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Cellular Operators Association of India (COA) has reported that all telecom service providers in Mumbai have installed telecoms BTS (Base Tower Station) / ODSC on 9 meter poles from Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) Infrastructure Provider (IP) on all major flyovers. Additionally, MSRDC has not extended the existing IP Vendor RFP which expired on December 31, 2021.”
He further added, “Now action is being taken by MSRDC on TSP (Suyog Telematics) in terms of forced shutdown/equipment confiscation resulting in loss of equipment and connectivity on critical corridors. COAI has previously represented MD-MSRDC in this matter.Therefore, request your kind attention in the matter to allow proper directions for concern to avoid disruption of telecommunications services in Mumbai at this critical phase of the Covid situation.
The MSRDC said it had given a letter of acceptance (LOA) to another company for the rental of the poles. The equipment will be installed on Monday.