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Fiber cut: A major problem for telcos and ISPs

On Sunday, Ntc’s mobile and landline phones were disturbed in some areas of Bhaktapur and Kavre. At first, there was news regarding the fiber cut in the Radhe Radhe bridge of Bhaktapur. But later the reason was known to be somewhere else. As the optical fiber cut was unplanned, it took more time to restore.

Fiber cut and impact

Sometimes the fiber cut may affect the whole region or district or city or village. It had happened multiple times with private telco, Ncell as well. The fiber cut not only hampers telecom services, but it has also great impact on the service of ISPs.

For telcos, the fiber connects the BTS tower to their offices. So, if the fiber is cut, the mobile tower will not function and the signal in that area will be off unless another nearby tower is operational. Even if the mobile signal is there, the call quality and data rate will not be up to mark.

There may be irritating call drops due to the shutdown of intermediate sites. So, the fiber cut has a great impact on the mobile network signal and quality. Similarly, fiber is also used by some small exchanges to connect to central offices. In the case of fiber failure, the landline phones connected from those exchanges will not work.

Private ISPs now have good availability of Fiber to the home (FTTH) service in the city areas. Most of them provide now provide internet and TV service together. So, if the optical fiber is cut, the internet, as well as the cable TV, will go off.

What is Optical fiber? How does it impact telcos, ISP?

Optical fiber is one of the most used transmission media now for communication. Instead of the electrical signals as in the previous medium, optical fiber transmits the information as a light signal along the length of the fiber.

Fiber is like a strand of human hair but numerous pairs of such strands make an optical fiber cable so as to increase the reliability and the capacity of the transmission. Based on different technology and equipment, optical fiber cable can provide high bandwidth. It can provide an information rate of 100 Mbps to tens of Gbps.

Due to the high capacity, optical fiber has the ability to connect the whole region or city or areas. The more the number of nodes or areas that it connects, the more severe is the fiber cut. So, the telcos and ISPs always worry about this fiber connection.

Reason

The fiber cut happens sometimes by the authorities for the different works in the road or construction work. Sometimes the fiber cut may be done intentionally just for the disruption of the services.

To lessen the impact of a fiber cut, authorities try to plan such breakage, pre-inform the respective service providers and make necessary provision for minimum effect. But sometimes, the fiber breakage may be unplanned and it has a bigger impact on the network. Unaware of the incident and the location, they take a lot of time to restore the network.

The fiber break will not only troubles the customer for their inability to use the service. But they are also painstaking to the service providers for their loss of revenues and their brand image. Government agencies must put forth stringent rules and coordination mechanisms among all the stakeholders to control such incidents and make it planned.

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