Photo Credit: Dibyangshu Sarkar/ AFP
As the reports of telecom connectivity being disrupted are coming in after cyclone Fani made landfall in Orissa, telecom operators like Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio have announced that they are well prepared to deal with the impact of the cyclone. Airtel and Vodafone Idea have also revealed that they have made SMS messages free for all subscribers in the circle and they are working with other operators to open intra-circle roaming to ensure connectivity. Notably, Reliance Jio already offers free SMS services, however, it has limits on the daily and monthly number of SMS messages sent. To recall, cyclone Fani hit Orissa around 8am today with heavy rainfall and high velocity winds with speeds of 175kmph.
According to reports, the telecommunication connectivity has been partially hit in Puri and Bhubaneswar districts of Orissa. No specifics are available at this point; however, the operators are said to be working to ensure connectivity for the residents of the state.
Airtel and Vodafone Idea have said that they have setup war rooms with deal with the impact of the cyclone Fani. The operators are also monitoring the situation and coordinating with the government agencies.
“War rooms with dedicated teams have been established in the state/circle offices to monitor impact of operations and coordinate quick recovery,” an Airtel spokesperson told Gadgets 360. “These war rooms are also coordinating with Government Authorities such as NDMA.”
“Vodafone Idea teams have been prepared to manage any emergency situation and network monitoring is being done through 24x7 War Rooms set up at VIL and vendor offices,” Vodafone Idea said in a statement. “We are working closely with other network providers (for ICR), partners and Government agencies to ensure stable telecom connectivity during the cyclone to let people stay connected with their loved ones.”
Both telecom operators have also stated that they have made SMS messages free for all subscribers in the telecom circle. The operators are also saying that their subscriber can use the talk time loan feature to remain connectivity in case they run out of balance. Vodafone Idea has also setup a helpline number at 1938 for people to reach out in case of an emergency. As we mentioned, Reliance Jio offers free SMS services regularly, but with limits on the number per day and month.
Reliance Jio said in a statement it was "working to mitigate potential downtime due to power outages of its network infrastructure. Through its multiway redundancy methodology planned for catastrophes such as Fani, impacted towers or network nodes have been optimised to remain online making seamless communication possible. All captive power sources have been adequately stocked with diesel or fuel for any unforeseen eventuality."
Parent company Reliance Industries added that "Reliance Foundation has been involved with the state disaster management authorities since 27 April 2019 for carrying out preventive communications and support for the at-risk communities in the coastal areas and Jio has provided its digital services to disseminate critical information far and wide."
Jio has also been communicating "regular cyclone alerts and updates to nearly 2.5 lakh fisherfolk/ farmers in the cyclone path districts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal and Odisha since April 27, 2019. The broadcast dissemination modes include Mobile based audio advisories (outbound calls), WhatsApp, JioChat Channel, local cable TV scroll and print media".
Among other telecom operators, BSNL is yet to say anything on its efforts relating to cyclone Fani. We have reached out to BSNL and will update the story when we hear from it.
Written with inputs from ANI