HN’s wireless ambition flounders

November, 16/2017 - 09:00

One of the most conspicuous features of Hà Nội’s old urban areas is the endless tangle of overhead electrical wires bundled precariously atop power poles.

Nguyễn Văn Minh, Chief inspector of the Hà Nội Department of Information and Communications (wearing white hat) checks for violations in installing overhead cables on Thái Hà Street, during a large-scale inspection in September. — VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — One of the most conspicuous features of Hà Nội’s old urban areas is the endless tangle of overhead electrical wires bundled precariously atop power poles.

To improve Hà Nội’s image, city authorities earlier this year set themselves an ambitious task of becoming a ‘wireless city’ to remove the eyesores.

Specifically, the city aimed to put all three types of cables – electrical lines, telecommunication lines, and lighting wires – underground on 101 streets and roads, with the work divided into two phases.

However, only in October did the intersectoral working group – comprised of personnel from the municipal construction department and the information department – submit to the People’s Committee a plan to move cables on 45 streets and roads in eight urban districts. The plan still has not been approved, making it unlikely set targets will be achieved this year.

Đồng Phước An, Deputy Director of the Hà Nội Department of Construction, said that the delay could be blamed on time-consuming contract negotiations, issues with capital allocation – especially with the contractor Mobifone – and between implementing units.

Authorities have also found that collaboration between electricity, telecommunication and lighting units remains lacking, with one unit digging up the pavements to put cables underground before another unit arrives to once again dig up the tiles.

Aside from the disruptions to local residents’ lives, some of the contractors have also failed to clean up after their construction, leaving behind dirt and construction materials, causing risks to traffic and undermining the goal of the overall task, to beautify the city.

Calling for private investment

According to the city’s plan, from now to 2018, the city expects to put cables underground on 162 streets in four old urban districts.

In 2018-20, the city will conduct the work on the remaining streets according to a memorandum signed between the city and the Hà Nội subsidiary of the State-owned Việt Nam Electricity (EVN) and telecommunication giants like VNPT, Viettel, MobiFone, FPT Telecom, and CMC.

For projects implemented with private capital, the construction department must urge businesses to step up their efforts, as well as make sure these businesses clean up and restore pavements after construction.

Businesses of different sectors are also required to co-operate to share the underground space already built by other sectors.

Simultaneously, each district is also planning to do other tasks to beautify the city including stone paving, planting and pruning trees and improving the lighting system, among others. However, progress here has also been slow, with the only street finished Giang Văn Minh Street of Ba Đình District. — VNS