11 Aug PM Modi inaugurates first ever optical fibre cable project for Andaman and Nicobar Islands
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated a Rs 1,224-crore optic fibre-based telecom connectivity initiative between Chennai and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, to facilitate ease of living for locals and boost tourism.
Based on the undersea optic fibre cable link, Airtel became the first telco to launch its 4G services on the islands.
“It will facilitate ease of living. Tourists may stay longer in Andaman, and it will provide more job opportunities locally,” Modi said in a televised address on Monday, and added that citizens would get Digital India benefits such as online education, banking, shopping, and telemedicine services.
The 2,313-km undersea cable between Chennai and Port Blair was laid by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. The fibre-based network connects seven islands — Swaraj Dweep (Havlock), Long Island, Rangat, Little Andaman, Kamorta, Car Nicobar and Greater Nicobar.
“The digital infrastructure deployed today would help in improving telecom connectivity in Andaman & Nicobar Islands,” said telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. “Between Chennai and Port Blair, there is deep sea at some places and despite challenges, this initiative was completed in record time.”
At a press briefing, Prasad said a tender for 354 uncovered villages in strategic, remote and border areas had been finalised and was under implementation. “These villages have been strategically chosen to cover border area connectivity on mobile,” he said. Prasad added that satellite-based digital satellite phone terminals are also being provided at 1,347 sites for military and paramilitary forces. Out of these, 183 sites are already commissioned and the remaining are in process.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, said, “We hope the Department of Telecom will accelerate the deployment of USOF for building such infrastructure backbone to complement the efforts of telecom operators to bridge the digital divide.” The connectivity programme was funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) while state-run Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd acted as a technical consultant for the initiative.
Once operational, the fibre link will deliver bandwidth of “2×200 gigabits per second (Gbps) between Chennai and Port Blair, and 2×100 gbps between Port Blair and the other islands,” the government said.