The Union Cabinet has given approval for provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine optical fibre cable between mainland India and Port Blair & five other islands in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The estimated cost of the fiber, which will originate in Chennai, is Rs. 1102.38 crore including operational expenses for 5 years. The project is likely to be completed by December 2018.
Currently the only medium of providing telecom connectivity between mainland and Andaman & Nicobar Islands is though satellites, but the bandwidth available is limited to 1 Gbps. Satellite bandwidth is very costly and its availability is limited due to which future bandwidth requirement cannot be met solely through it, the government said.
Also no alternate media is available in case of any emergency.
Lack of bandwidth and telecom connectivity is also hampering socio-economic development of the islands, it said.
“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 approval would equip Andaman & Nicobar Islands with appropriate bandwidth and telecom connectivity for implementation of e-Governance initiatives; establishment of enterprises & e-commerce facilities.