Govt approves submarine optical fibre cable connectivity between Kochi and Lakshadweep Islands

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December 9, 2020 6:27 PM

The project, approved by the Union Cabinet, entails provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) between Kochi and 11 islands of Lakshadweep -- Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Agati, Amini, Androth, Minicoy, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kiltan and Kadmat.

The project is expected to be completed by May 2023. (Photo source: IE)

The government on Wednesday approved provision of submarine optical fibre cable connectivity between Kochi and Lakshadweep Islands, entailing a cost of Rs 1,072 crore.

The project, approved by the Union Cabinet, entails provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) between Kochi and 11 islands of Lakshadweep — Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Agati, Amini, Androth, Minicoy, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kiltan and Kadmat.

“The estimated cost of implementation is about Rs 1,072 crore including operational expenses for 5 years. The project would be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund,” an official release said.

The project is expected to be completed by May 2023.

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has been nominated as project execution agency and Telecommunications Consultant India Ltd (TCIL) as the Technical Consultant of the project to assist Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), Department of Telecommunications, it said. The ownership of the asset under the project will rest with USOF, the funding agency, under the telecom department.

“Telecommunication connectivity plays vital role in employment generation. The present approval for provision of Submarine Optical Fibre Cable Connectivity will vastly improve telecommunication facility in the Lakshadweep Islands by providing large bandwidth,” the release said.

The project would play vital role for delivery of e-Governance services at the doorstep of citizens, potential development of fisheries, coconut based industries and high-value tourism, educational development in term of tele-education and in healthcare in terms of telemedicine facilities.

“It will help in establishment of numerous businesses, augment e-commerce activities and provide adequate support to educational institutes for knowledge sharing. The Lakshadweep Islands have the potential to become a hub of logistic services,” it added.

The Cabinet also approved Universal Service Obligation Fund Scheme for providing mobile coverage in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam (KarbiAnglong and Dima Hasao) under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for North Eastern Region.

The project would offer mobile coverage to 2,374 uncovered villages (1,683 in Arunachal Pradesh and 691 in two districts of Assam) at an estimated cost of Rs 2,029 crore including operational expenses for five years.

The project, which would be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund, is targeted to be completed by December 2022. “The work related to provision of 4G mobile services in identified uncovered villages will be awarded through open competitive bidding process as per extant USOF procedures,” the official release said.

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