It is estimated by cellphone tower operators that 60% of the towers have been affected by the cyclone.

Telecom networks still partially down in Chennai Vardah snaps undersea data cables
news Cyclone Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 08:37

Even as Chennai slowly struggles back to normalcy, telecom networks are still partially down in many parts of the city.

While mobile connectivity is available at several parts, it is partial, with internet services being majorly affected.

According to PTI, Internet and broadband subscribers of Airtel are experiencing slower speed not only in Chennai but throughout the country, as one of the undersea cables of the company has been hit by the cyclone in Chennai.

"Due to the severe cyclone at Chennai coast yesterday, one of our international undersea cables has been damaged and Internet traffic has been partially impacted. As a result, customers in some locations may be experiencing slow internet/data speeds," Airtel spokesperson told PTI.

Times of India reports that other network operators have also reported damage to their undersea cables. “While damage to Airtel's network was significant, there were disruptions in the terrestrial infrastructure of other companies which resulted in a slowdown of Internet speeds.” 

It was also reported that “BSNL landlines were the sole saviour. Of the 6.8 lakh BSNL landline connections, complaints were received for 18,000. BSNL Chennai Telephones chief general manager S M Kalavathi said that major telephone exchanges were operational though smaller ones in areas like Puzhal and Chengalpet were affected due to inundation and uprooting of trees.” It is estimated by cellphone tower operators that 60% of the towers have been affected by the cyclone.

Vardah, the severe cyclonic storm, had a landfall near Chennai Port on December 12, and caused unprecedented damage to infrastructure and properties.  At the time of landfall, Chennai city and the districts of Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram witnessed very heavy rainfall and very strong winds with a velocity of 130-140 km per hour, according to the government.

Sixteen lives have been lost due to the cyclone. The cyclone uprooted more than 12,000 trees disrupting traffic in the entire city and its suburbs. 

It caused extensive damage to road infrastructure including attendant road furniture. Due to the extensive damage caused to transmission lines, sub-stations, transformers and distribution lines, power supply was cut off in almost the entire city of Chennai as well as large parts of Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur Districts. More than 10,000 electric poles have been mangled and more than 800 transformers damaged.

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