Telephone link to Vanni, most of peninsula, cut off

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 20:36 GMT]
Telephone lines to Vanni and most of Jaffna have remained cut for more than four days since Saturday 10:55 p.m. Financial transactions in many branches of the banks have been paralyzed, fundamental services such as hospital ambulances, civil services and media, dependent on telephone communication have been severely affected. Vanni, without celluar link, remains completely cut off for communication. A group of Sri Lanka Army soldiers who visited Vavuniya Telecom Saturday evening had instructed the technicians to accompany them towards the communication exchange at Madukanda, 4 km southeast of Vavuniya town, and shut down the telephone link to Vanni.

All the numbers with the +9421228 format (Kilinochchi lines) and in the range between +942122240000 and +94212229000 (Jaffna and Vanni), were not working.

Sri Lankan military establishment has earlier cut off telephone links during military operations.

Since Saturday, only a section of telephone numbers, numbering around 1500 of around 8000 lines, were working in Jaffna.

Automated Teller Machines (ATM) for the banks were unable to be operated resulting in long line of people standing at the banks to attend to their needs.

Overall, banking activities in the North have been crippled by the present crisis.

The main telephone tower base functioning at Pannai, within the Jaffna municipal council was responsible for communication services in Valigamam area.

Though the service is available to certain extent in Valikamam, it is only the phone lines beginning with the digits 2 and 3 that are operational while all other phone lines in the area have been dead for over three days.

With the only land route to the peninsula being severed for the past many months, telephone was the only means of communication within Jaffna as well with the rest of the country and international community. The current disruption of services has sparked a severe crisis throughout the peninsula.

A similar situation arose in August 11 after clashes erupted between Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops and the Liberation Tigers in Kilali-Nagerkovil Forward Defense Lines(FDL) running through Muhamalai.

More than 40,000 people who had mobile telephones in the Peninsula lost the facilities when the Sri Lankan Military cut-off the services without prior notice on 11 August.

The cellular service returned to Jaffna, a month ago, on 24 December.

Internet was not accessible at browsing centres.

Although a source at the SLT gave an official explanation that the reason for failure was a technical failure, no reason was provided for the delay or inability to fix the problem.

The new Japanese CEO of the SLT, Shoji Takahashi, addressing the audience at South Asia's Network Operator's Conference (SANOG), last week, had claimed that the domestic core network of SLT consisted IP based Multi Protocol Label Switching (IP-MPLS) which made it easy to manage a network for Quality of Service. He added that the SLT was no longer a traditional telecom company, but a solution provider.

Related Articles:
25.12.06   Cellular phone service returns to Jaffna
19.12.06   Ring tones remain dead in Jaffna mobile phones


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