Submarine OFC connectivity to Andaman & Nicobar islands

Submarine OFC connectivity to Andaman & Nicobar islands

The ship “CS Responder” will commence the cable laying work at sea bed from Friday whereas another ship “STRAIDER” had carried out pre-laying activities between Chennai and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Tourists visiting the picturesque Andaman and Nicobar Islands will soon get access to high-speed internet with the Centre on Thursday launching an ambitious project to lay submarine cables from this metropolis to Port Blair and other sister islands in the Union Territory.

Union Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the submarine optical fibre cable connectivity laying work at the Chennai Port on Thursday. Once the project is completed – plans are afoot to finish well ahead of June 2020 deadline – the island would experience internet with a bandwidth of 400 Gbps in the initial stage itself.

The project, to be executed by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), will link a distance of 2,250 kms at a cost of Rs 1,224 crore. While the distance from Chennai to Port Blair is 1,450 kms, the remaining 800 kms will cover other segments like Little Andaman, Car Nicobar and Kamorta.   

Currently, Andaman and Nicobar Islands are connected to the mainland through satellite link with limited bandwidth capacity with high latency.

The ship “CS Responder” will commence the cable laying work at sea bed from Friday whereas another ship “STRAIDER” had carried out pre-laying activities between Chennai and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The bandwidth created under the project will be available to all telecom service providers, a senior BSNL official said.

“The project is a milestone in the history of India and the cable will have 100 feet to 3 km depth which has several layers that makes it difficult to get damaged. The internet connectivity, once this project is implemented, will increase to 4,000 per cent of what is currently available,” Prasad said.

He also announced that the government has approved a similar project to provide fast internet connectivity to Lakshadweep islands from Kochi in Kerala. Prasad said the high-speed internet connectivity will greatly improve the Bharatnet and Digital India initiatives in the island.

Not just the tourism industry, but the strategic communication requirement of the defence forces, will also get a boost due to the project.

BSNL VRS package

Asking BSNL to complete the project well ahead of the deadline, Prasad called the PSU “strategic asset of the country” saying the telecom company had come to the rescue of the people during natural disasters.

“The BSNL and MTNL have received robust VRS packages and I am happy to announce that 78,000 people from BSNL and 15,000 people from MTNL have availed the package. BSNL should continue efforts to make the country proud,” he said.

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