Nagpur: Over 30,000 landline phones of BSNL—the largest service provider in this segment— were down for much of the day on Wednesday. The breakdown was longest in the recent past, yet communication was largely maintained due to mobile services of BSNL and other service providers going on.
BSNL’s Sitabuldi main exchange that covers over half of the city’s connections encountered a snag at 10 am which could be repaired only by 4.40pm.
The snag affected connections mainly in western part of the city. There was no panic as communication continued through alternative means and data and lease line services of BSNL were unaffected too. Even in the affected areas outgoing calls could made from some phones as incoming service was impacted, said senior official in BSNL.
However, important services like fire brigade and police control room were hit. People normally depend on calling 100 and 101 on landline for police and fire brigade respectively in times of emergency. BSNL officials accepted that a number of helpline numbers had gone down too.
The 108 ambulance service which is linked to an exchange in Pune remained unaffected. The railways, which depend on their own network, also did not have any hassles either.
There was a partial impact at the airport as landline phones in almost all the government offices, NMC, Government Medical College (GMC), and Mayo Hospital did not ring throughout the day. A source in GMC said the situation could have been worse if the outage had gone on for more than a day.
A senior BSNL official told TOI a power cut had hit the electricity supply plant of the exchange after which the system could not reboot. The console was not displaying any prompts as the screen went blank.
The EWSD exchange has been supplied by Siemens. Even as BSNL is shifting to latest technology based new generation network, this exchange has not been converted yet. Teams from BSNL plunged into action. Experts from Siemens’ regional office at Pune were also monitoring the process online, said the official.
“It was a software related problem which could be finally resolved by 5 pm. No major expenditure was incurred for the restoration,” said a senior official.
Landline phones continue to be a major business for BSNL with 14,000 new connections being granted each year, said an official. The Sitabuldi exchange is due to shift to NGN in a month’s time, said a senior official.
Rajendra Uchake NMC’s fire officer said the 101 service did not work throughout the day. In case of emergency the fire brigade could be contacted on mobile numbers which are published from time to time in newspapers. He accepted that only 101 is known to the public. “There were no fire incidents in the city either,” he said.
A spokesperson of the city police said that control room could not be reached till 4 pm and data was also partially affected.