BSNL scraps MoD cable tender

28 Feb 2013

State-backed telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has cancelled a tender for rolling out a fibre-optic network connecting Ministry of Defence (MoD) facilities without giving its reasons, Business Line reports. The cable system was planned as part of a deal that would allow the armed forces to migrate their communications from a 1900MHz wireless platform to an alternative network, thereby freeing up airwaves for 2G/3G services. Whilst the agreement has been in place since 2009, little progress has been made so far. BSNL was charged with handling the network rollout but has so far cancelled two tenders, the first of which was launched in January 2010 and had its closing date pushed back five times before being abandoned, followed by a second attempt to select a company in November 2012. Fourteen companies have reportedly expressed an interest in the project, which covers the deployment of 57,000km of cable linking 324 army, air force and navy installations. The cash-strapped telco did not explain its reason for cancelling the most recent tender, though political interference is understood to be complicating the procurement process.