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Telecoms call for tough laws to protect network infrastructures

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Telecoms call for tough laws to protect network infrastructures

A subscriber makes a call. The public have complained of poor quality services which telecom companies have blamed on vandalism of their property. Photo BY DOMINIC BUKENYA 

By FREDERIC MUSISI

Posted  Friday, July 11  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Property like generators are tampered with and fuel stolen

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KAMPALA

Telecommunication companies are calling for tough laws to prevent the theft and vandalism of network infrastructure, which affects the quality of service.

The call comes after numerous complaints from the public over poor services, namely dropped calls, erratic internet access, constant network failures, which has seen revenues for the players drop.
The MTN Chief technical officer, Mr Rami Farah, in a statement issued early this month, said persistent fiber damages put both the business and customer quality at risk.

He added “we have seen some areas for instance, experiencing a total blackout for both voice calls and data services if both the protection and working routes are damaged and as a result, the network has also suffered high congestion levels due to a lack of coverage resulting in very poor call experience and dropped calls.”

The company notes that “continuous improvement” in network quality and services is being affected by different challenges including the increase in the number of vandalism cases on our network infrastructure.
For instance, during the last 12 months, MTN says has recorded more than 200 incidents of infrastructure vandalism largely attributed to the theft of fiber cables by individuals and activities of road construction.
Airtel, in recent reports decried “losing millions of money to vandalism on their masts.” In 2013, theft of fuel-diesel from the masts cost the telecom in excess of Shs300 million.

The regulatory affairs director at Airtel, Mr Denis Kakonge, said they want government to adopt “punitive measures” as is the case in Kenya because the quality of services are being extensively affected.
“We are advocating for such a law because network infrastructure is a a national good for good telecommunications services and vandalism affects service provision immensely.”

musisif@ug.nationmedia.com