NT restores 335 towers hit by quake

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 21, 2016-

Nepal Telecom (NT) has restored 335 out of its 350 BTS (base transceiver station) towers damaged by the April 25 earthquake, the state-owned telecom operator said.The devastating tremor had knocked out 250 towers in Kathmandu and 100 towers elsewhere in the country, severely crippling the network. NT had started work on the towers in August 2015.

According to NT’s Managing Director Buddhi Prasad Acharya, the company has imported new low-height and lightweight BTS towers to replace the old heavy towers.NT began looking for new equipment after house owners, fearing for the safety of their property, implored the company to remove the heavy towers from their rooftops after seeing houses toppled by the quake.

“These new BTS towers are light and will not add much load on the houses,” Acharya said. “We will complete getting all the 350 towers back online by mid-February.”

NT maintains more than 4,000 BTS towers across the country, including 430 in Kathmandu. The company plans to add 77 towers in the capital to improve service quality.

As per the data of the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), more than 80 percent of the BTS towers in the Kathmandu Valley have been installed on the

roofs of buildings. Lack of open space has forced telecom companies to erect towers on rooftops, making houses top-heavy.However, installing small and lightweight towers means sacrificing service quality as a shorter tower has a narrower network coverage.

“We are planning to add more BTS towers in the Kathmandu Valley after conducting a study where they will be required to maintain network quality,” Acharya said.NT said that it took longer than anticipated to complete the task

of redesigning the network as imported equipment were stuck at customs points across the country for more than four months due to the blockade by India.

According to the company, some of the shipments have been rerouted to newly opened border crossings, and they should be arriving soon.NT said it planned to expand its reach to 1,300 new places across the country and upgrade network

quality in 600 places where its service is available.

The company’s customers have been facing problems due to network congestion and weak signal. Also, it is difficult to recharge prepaid GSM cell phone accounts in some places.

“We have two different systems for recharging accounts. One is designed for recharging small amounts up to Rs50 and the other is designed for larger transactions. Since most people recharge their phones by up to Rs50, the system sometimes gets jammed,” Acharya said.

 

Published: 21-01-2016 09:37

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