Airtel to reconnect Andamans, TN

Friday, 31 December 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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CHENNAI: Leading private cellular provider Airtel will provide advanced communications facilities along the Tamil Nadu coast to facilitate post-tsunami relief measures but a minor sea incursion here Thursday delayed plans by a few hours.

Airtel will also establish a 200 million cellular and V-SAT network in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by March 31, 2005.

The company Wednesday announced it would establish dozens of communication centres near hospitals, police stations, temporary shelters and other public places in Mammalapuram, Cuddalore, Pondicherry, Karaikal, Nagore, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Velankani and other cities along the coast.

However, a mild wave at about 10.30 a.m. Thursday, which brought sea water into the Santhom area of south Chennai, where Airtel's main southern operational headquarters are located, forced the company to switch off equipment and stop activating new cell phone connections.

Airtel had set up numerous crisis call stations within four hours of Sunday's tsunami wave.

Speaking of the Andaman's facility, Bharati group chief Sunil Mittal said: "In a bid to ensure a speedy rollout, we will use a microwave backbone and utilise V-AT capabilities to ensure the availability of a reliable telecom network on the islands.

"We have started work on a war footing to set up the Airtel mobile network in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. We understand the complexities of laying a network in a geography which has been so badly affected by the disaster, but we are taking this as a mission," Mittal added.

Source: IANS
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