Chennai-Andamans submarine cable project flagged off

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 09, 2020 Published on January 09, 2020

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad with BSNL’s Chairman PK Purwar (extreme left), and DK Joshi, Lt Governor, Andaman and Nicobar Islands (extreme right), in Chennai on Thursday   -  Bijoy Ghosh

The ₹1,224-cr project, which involves laying 2,250 km of OFC, will mark a huge improvement over satellite connectivity

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands will soon be connected with the mainland through highly-sophisticated optical fibre cable (OFC) that will provide high-speed broadband in all parts of the islands.

This ₹1,224-crore project to lay 2,250 km of submarine OFC will bridge the digital gap between Andaman and Nicobar Islands, said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Law and Justice, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology.

At the inauguration of the project, Prasad also announced that a similar project connecting Kochi with Lakshadweep group of islands will be taken up at a cost of ₹1,000 crore. “Today is a milestone in the history of India. Earlier, the connectivity to Andaman and Nicobar Islands was via satellite. From June 2020, it will be under the sea. The depth of laying the cable ranges from 1,000 ft to 3 km,” said Prasad.

He added: “This technological advancement will give connectivity, which will be 4,000 per cent more efficient than what people in the islands are getting today.” This is the first time such a gigantic exercise has been undertaken in India, he added.

Counting on BSNL

Prasad added: “I would expect the BSNL team to execute the project before the deadline ensuring quality. We can have a robust inauguration that will prove that BSNL, through its active involvement, can execute such a large project and show the world that it has finally risen from the slumber. I would like all the employees to work in that direction.”

PK Purwar, CMD of BSNL, said that the submarine cable project will connect mainland (Chennai) to Port Blair and seven other islands - Havelock, Long Island, Ranga, Hut Bay, Car Nicobar, Kamorta and Campbell Bay. BSNL is the project implementation agency and the work has been awarded to NEC Technologies India through a global open tender. The project is funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund/Department of Technology.

The digital connectivity is important for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for overall social development. The project will play a significant role in achieving the objective of Digital India and BharatNet, and for rolling out various e-governance projects of the Centre in the islands, he said.

It has been targeted to commission the link by June 2020. “We are trying to complete the project ahead of schedule,” he said.

At the time of initial commissioning of the system, 400 gbps will be available as throughput, which is almost 100 times that of the present available bandwidth connecting Chennai and Port Blair. It will be a huge transformation for the people of the A&N Islands, he said.

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Published on January 09, 2020
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