The Cabinet today approved direct submarine cable link between the mainland in Chennai and Andaman and Nicobar to boost telecom service in the islands with a project outlay of Rs 1,102.38 crore.
“The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) between the mainland (Chennai) and Port Blair & five other islands viz. Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Havelock, Kamorta and Great Nicobar,” an official statement today said.
The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,102.38 crore, including operational expenses for 5 years, and is likely to be completed by December 2018, it added.
The telecom service in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands (ANI) is dependent only on satellite connectivity and the bandwidth is limited to 1 GBPS only.
“Satellite bandwidth is very costly and its availability is limited due to which future bandwidth requirement cannot be met solely through it. Hence, it is essential to have submarine OFC connectivity between the mainland India and Andaman & Nicobar islands, being the only option for catering to projected future bandwidth requirements,” the statement said.
The approval will equip the islands with appropriate bandwidth and telecom connectivity for implementation of e-governance initiatives, establishment of enterprises and e-commerce facilities.
The islands are of immense strategic significance for India. Their geographical configuration and location in the Bay of Bengal safeguard India’s eastern seaboard.
Provision of secure, reliable, robust, and affordable telecom facilities in these islands is critical from a strategic point of view to the country and also an important requirement for the socio-economic development of the islands.