Telecom Ministry plans to reduce undersea cable repair time to 3 days

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on December 21, 2012

The repair time taken for the undersea cable in Indian waters is comparatively higher than in other countries.

The Telecommunications Ministry has proposed to slash submarine cable repair time to three to five days, in a move that will help in faster restoration of Internet services. At present, repairing of an undersea cable takes at least three to five weeks.

It has suggested speeding up of approvals from various ministries and agencies, which would also help in arresting revenue losses to operators.

“A submarine communication cable is a vital infrastructure for the communication as well as for the financial stability of the country. Whenever, there is a cable cut, besides the huge revenue loss, it results in a loss of 50-60 per cent of the connectivity,” the Ministry said in a note.

The repair time taken for the undersea cable in Indian waters is comparatively higher than in other countries due to large number of clearances and permissions required, the note said, adding that there is an immediate need to speed up the process.

To bring in an undersea cable repairing ship, an international long distance (ILD) operator needs to get clearances from as many as six agencies, which could be the reason for the delays. These agencies include the home ministry, defence ministry, Indian National Shipowners' Association (INSA) and the Director General of Shipping among others.

Reducing time for processing of application at the Defence Ministry to a maximum of three days and obtaining INSA’s permission and special licence from DG Shipping were among other suggestions proposed by the Ministry.

Faster Naval and custom clearances, where in a repair ship should be treated as an “ambulance on the road’, were also suggested.

Published on December 21, 2012

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