Major fiber cut in KTM

Thursday evening’s brief fire on a pole was much more severe than I would have imagined. It severed dozens of fiber and other cables. It took the ISPs whole night plus the following day to fix the mess.

If you’ve noticed the way the cables are pulled across the city, it won’t take you much to realize that its very unsafe and not surprising that fires are more frequent.

Fibers, PSTN, ethernet, custom (ethernet+DC, ethernet+AC etc) and a mix of power lines run through the same poles and they run in parallel. On top of that, power cables and non-power cables are often just millimeter apart, sometimes even tangled with each other. Some broken power wires are loosely joined. Sometimes no tapes are used to insulate the joints.

Why is the cabling the way it is? Because most of the time cabling is done by unskilled, untrained people lacking any knowledge of electricity safety or codes. ISPs employ teams of pole climbers and ladder carryboys. Their engineers barely work on field or monitor their work. The cabling ends up being messy, loosely hanging above pedestrian’s head.

When khatey-children burn some fire below on the cold winter night, the cables catches it quickly. Or, when the dew settles on the dusts above the wire and gets to the loose joints, it causes short circuit and sparks a fire. There could be dozens of other possibilities.

Here’s some picture during the repairs. But notice the laying of cables. If you start looking outside your window while you drive across town, you’ll see more like these.

If the ISPs learn from this, they should really think about redoing the cabling. Its prime time to start practicing proper safety codes and practices.