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Cabinet approves undersea fibre link between Lakshadweep islands and Kochi

The submarine connectivity project will have vital role for delivery of e-governance servicesPremium
The submarine connectivity project will have vital role for delivery of e-governance services

  • The Lakshadweep-Kochi project was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day this year
  • Modi set a target of completing the Lakshadweep undersea project in 1,000 days to boost mobile and broadband communication between mainland India and the group of islands

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an undersea optical fibre cable link to connect 11 islands of Lakshadweep with Kochi in mainland India at an estimated cost of 1,072 crore, including operational expenses for five years.

The Lakshadweep-Kochi project was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day this year. In August, Modi inaugurated India’s first undersea cable line between Chennai and Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Delivering his speech at Red Fort on India’s 74th Independence Day, Modi set a target of completing the Lakshadweep undersea project in 1,000 days to boost mobile and broadband communication between mainland India and the group of islands situated on the Laccadive Sea, off the southwestern coast of India.

Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Agati, Amini, Androth, Minicoy, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kiltan and Kadmat are 11 islands that will be connected using underwater fibre cable with Kochi.

“The submarine connectivity project will have vital role for delivery of e-governance services, 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," said a government release.

The project will be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), department of telecommunications (DoT). State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will execute the project and Telecommunications Consultant India Ltd (TCIL) has been appointed as the technical consultant that will assist USOF.

“The ownership of the asset under the project will be with USOF, the funding agency under DoT. The project is targeted to be completed by May 2023," the release said.

The foundation of the Chennai-Port Blair project was laid in December 2018. The 2,312-kilometre long cable project, implemented at a cost of 1,224 crore, will connect not only Port Blair but also other islands such as Swaraj Dweep, Long Island, Rangat, Little Andaman, Kamorta, Car Nicobar, and Greater Nicobar.

Internet speeds of up to 400 gigabyte (Gb) per second will be provided at Port Blair and 200 Gb per second for other islands. The cable is expected to boost 4G mobile services and digital services such as tele-education, tele-health, e-governance services and tourism on the islands.

Separately, the Cabinet on Wednesday approved provision of a USOF to provide 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 will provide mobile coverage to 2,374 villages—1,683 in Arunachal Pradesh and 691 in two districts of Assam—at an estimated cost of 2,029 crore, including operational expenses for five years. The target to complete the project is December 2022.

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