Project for laying undersea OFC cable between Chennai-ANI awarded

Port Blair
23 May 2018

Inadequate internet bandwidth and inconsistent Telecom connectivity has been major challenge for A&N Administration to implement various developmental schemes apart from generating avenues for employment for local youths. In order to make a comprehensive Telecom Plan, A&N Administration approached Department of Telecommunication (DOT) and on request Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) carried out a detailed study for improving Telecom services in A&N Islands (ANI) and recommended various measures to improve Island-Mainland and Inter-islands connectivity both on short term and long term basis.
The laying of Undersea optical fibre cable project between Chennai and Port Blair and six islands (viz. Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Havelock, Kamorta, Campbell Bay and Long Islands) is a long term solution recommended by TRAI. This was perused by A&N Administration at the highest level and accordingly Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister approved the project in September 2016. The project is anchored by DOT and implemented by BSNL. The total project cost is around Rs.1232 crores with CAPEX cost of around Rs.956.00 crores and OPEX cost for five years is around 276.00 crores. The BSNL has issued the advance work order to Japanese firm on 22.05.2018. The project will be completed within 24 months.
As a part of comprehensive plan, A&N Administration has also been vigorously perusing following projects with DOT to improve the Telecom facilities within islands and between different islands. Some of the projects are in advanced stage of implementation while few of them are at tendering stage.
(i)  Laying additional Optical Fibre cable between Port Blair and Diglipur for ensuring redundancy;
(ii)  Installation of additional 151 (4G/3G) Mobile Towers for connecting all the inhabited villages having population of more than 10 persons through competitive bidding by USOF;
(iii) Installation of additional 22 (4G/3G) mobile towers along National Highway and places of tourist importance / Historical importance by BSNL.
The Undersea optical fibre cable project connecting Islands with Mainland will provide abundant bandwidth which will help A&N Administration to implement e-Governance initiatives and Developmental schemes till last mile effectively. In addition the outreach of quality Education and  Healthcare will also improve substantially by using Tele-education and Tele-medicines for serving last mile. The A&N Administration has also taken initiatives to create conducive environment for establishing IT & ITeS Industry for employment generation once the Undersea fibre cable project is implemented. However, in order to ensure proper dovetailing with the Undersea fibre cable project, A&N Administration has started discussions with National Association for Software Company (NASSCOM) for preparing the blueprint for setting up of IT Park so that major players of our Country can be attracted for establishing IT & ITeS Industry in these islands.