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Undersea Optical Fibre Cable laying work connecting Chennai- A&N Islands inaugurated

Submarine link will open global gates for tourism & community development of the people of A&N Islands: Union Minister

Submarine cable project will be a boost to Islands’ economy and yield long term dividends for the people: Lt. Governor

          Chennai, Jan 9: The undersea Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) laying work, connecting Chennai to Port Blair and seven Islands has begun with its inauguration by the Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology and Law & Justice, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad in the presence of Lt. Governor, A&N Islands and Vice- Chairman, Islands Development Agency, Admiral DK Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, NM, VSM (Retd.) today at a function held at Hotel Le Royal Meridien, # GST Road, Chennai. The inaugural function was followed by flagging off ceremony in the cable laying ship ‘KT Responder’ harboured at Chennai Port.
     During the function held at Hotel Le Royal Meridien, Chennai, the Union Minister of Communication, Electronics & IT stated that the CANI Project is a milestone in the history of India. A&N Islands is a proud part of India and has blossomed into a truly Mini India with people from all parts of India living cordially and peacefully. Development of Islands through digital tool is a model to emulate, he said. This Govt. reaches the last person through the last mile connectivity which emphasizes and reinforces the faith in the Govt. The challenge or dream of getting the world class medical facilities through this digital initiative will now become the reality for the people of the Islands. This Govt. spans over the sky (satellite) to under the sea (submarine cable). Presently, the communication to A&N Islands is through satellite and with the laying of submarine cable, it would be connected under water/sea with parts of sea depth more than 3 Kms. Traffic handling capacity would increase 4000%. This is the first time such a gigantic exercise is taken up by GoI through BSNL, the Minister said adding that GoI has also approved the submarine cable project for connecting Lakshadweep with Cochin at a cost of Rs.1200 Crores.
     The Minister highlighted the ‘Digital India’ Vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India which would bring power through Technology & Communication to each and every citizen of India at a low/affordable cost. He emphasized on the Hon’ble PM’s vision statement ‘India’s Talent + Information Technology = India’s Tomorrow’ will become closer to reality.
     The Minister further stated that BSNL should complete this Project of national importance well within timeline and serve A&N Islands. These Islands have enormous potential to become the most favourable and attractive destination for the tourists.  The MoC & IT stated that the SMC would enable Aadhaar based digital transaction in A&N Islands. Further, he stated that GoI plans to introduce Financial Inclusion through Post Offices which will witness banks reach every home. Digital economy is expected to contribute to 1 Trillion dollars. He stated that he would be personally very happy to see the people of Andaman & Nicobar Islands strengthen their emotional connect more through this digital connect. This submarine link will open the global gates for tourism and community development of the people of A&N Islands.
      Addressing the gathering, the Lieutenant Governor, A&N Islands said that it is a privilege and an honour to be a part of this event and to witness the commencement of the laying of Chennai-A&N Islands Submarine Optical Fibre Cable. The submarine cable project would multiply the speed and reliability of data and voice telephone facilities manifold in the Islands, resulting in a boost to its economy and life standards. He said, it will greatly improve the services, governance delivery and skill development, besides helping the defence forces immensely. He said, the project would yield long-term dividends for the public.
    The Lt. Governor said though, the internet bandwidth has increased almost three-fold in last two years from 1.233 Gbps (December 2017) to 3.548 Gbps (at present), it has only provided some relief to domestic segment. With completion of the transformational Submarine OFC Project connecting Chennai to Port Blair and seven other Islands with optical fiber link by June 2020, the bandwidth augmentation then will be almost 60 times of the present bandwidth and will indeed give a boost to the economic activity.
     The Lt. Governor said that new devices/innovations have given us more ways to harness the power of connectivity and functionality than we could have imagined and ICTs and digital e-skills are proving engines of inclusion, economic growth and development. Towards this end, the increased bandwidth coupled with projects being implemented by Department of Telecommunications such as BharatNet and BTS covering all uncovered villages, will ensure availability of the Government services to last mile and guarantee service delivery within the stipulated time. He said, the A & N Administration, besides making substantial progress in implementing various core projects for e-governance, has also drawn plans to use robust telecom connectivity for tele-education, tele-medicine, etc., apart from improving the facilities for tourists at important tourist destinations.
      The Lt. Governor further stated that the Tourism and Hospitality industry is a major segment of economy in the A&N Islands, which is blessed with over 92% Green cover. However, tourism alone cannot be sufficient to realize the full economic, strategic and HR potential of these Islands. We are therefore considering select non-polluting niche hi-tech industries such as R&D driven Silicon Carbide Chip Fabrication and IT/Telecom enabled enterprises. He disclosed that preliminary discussion with Industry players including NASSCOM was held and some have shown interest to establish IT firms once redundant connectivity from Andamans with Mainland is established, so that in the event of cable cut, the connectivity with rest of the country and overseas is not disturbed. Once implemented, these transformational projects will further accelerate the economic growth and provide greater employment opportunities.
      The Lt. Governor  thanked the BSNL for their support and urged them to closely associate/ monitor technical aspects of the work being executed at all the nodes, and also ensure that there is no lag between completion of the project and last mile connectivity with the end users of the bandwidth.
    The Lt. Governor also thanked the Government of Tamil Nadu for supporting A & N Administration in not only this endeavour, but also across various sectors to the benefits of residents of the Islands. The Lt. Governor also thanked Ministry of Communications for their continued support to the A&N Administration in overcoming the geographically imposed challenges of remoteness and connectivity and propelling New Andamans onwards for realisation of the New India vision.
      The submarine cables will be initially laid from Chennai to Port Blair, covering a distance of 1,461 kilometres. Afterwards it will be extended to Rangat, Long Island, Swaraj Dweep, Hut Bay, Car Nicobar, Kamorta and Campbell Bay in the Union Territory. The works are expected to be completed by June this year. The cables are of four-fibre pairs, with the capacity to transfer 6.4 tera-bytes of data per second by each fibre-pair. At the initial stage of commissioning of the project itself, the Islands can get a data speed of 400-gigabytes per second.
     Earlier, welcoming the gathering, the CMD, BSNL, Shri Pravin Kumar Purwar stated that the CANI SMCP will provide high speed connectivity to A&N Islands with speed upto 100 times more than the present speed. BSNL is geared up to finish the CANI- SMC Project well within the timeframe. With all help extended from A&N Administration, BSNL has build up the Cable Landing Stations and Beach Man Holes in Chennai and in all the eight Islands of A&N Islands being connected with the submarine cable. Equipment testing has been conducted successfully at Port Blair and Chennai. At Swaraj Dweep, Rangat, Long Island, Hutbay, Car Nicobar, Kamorta and Campbell Bay work is in advanced stage and is scheduled to be completed well within timeline as set by GoI. He further stated that BSNL Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) are the project implementation agency (including operations for 5 years), nominated by DoT/USOF. The turnkey contract has been awarded to M/s NEC Technologies India Ltd.    The CANI-SMC project is being constructed at a total cost of around Rs. 1200 crores, funded by USoF, Govt. of India. The project will play a significant role in bridging the digital divide and for spreading the various e-governance programmes in the Emerald Islands. CMD, BSNL highly appreciated and thanked the Govt. of India for approving such a mega project for A&N Islands and nominating BSNL as the implementing Agency. He stated that the CANI-SMC Project once completed will enormously boost the socio-economic development in the Islands along with enhanced security. The Islanders’ dream to witness/handle internet/data speed at par with that of Mainland India is going to be fulfilled shortly. A&N Islands will see an overall improvement of the entire spectrum of telecom services in the A & N Islands and it will make the entire Union territory of A & N Islands as a smart territory.
     The Director (Enterprise), Shri. B.L. Varshney proposed the vote of thanks.

Salient features:
  • The total link distance is 2250 Kms, with Chennai to Port Blair as 1450 Kms, whereas other 7 segments, its 800 Kms.
  • The total cost of the Project is Rs.1224 Cr (CAPEX Res. 948 Cr. Being funded by USOF + OPEX Rs.276 Cr. To be funded by A&N UT Administration under viability gap funding principle).
  • The Cable System will be maintained by BSNL
  • The bandwidth created under this project will be available to all Telecom Service providers to extend their telecom services to the A&N Islands.
  • The submarine cable will also meet the strategic communication requirement of country’s defence forces.
  • We have constructed 8 new green field building for housing Cable Landing Stations (CLS) in a record time.
  • All equipments in Chennai and Port Blair are installed and at other places work is in advance stage.
  • The ship ‘STRAIDER’ reached in Chennai in November, 2019 for pre layingactivities and the work has been completed between Chennai and A&N Islands.
  • The ship “CS Responder” has already reached at Chennai for commencing the cable laying work at sea bed from 10th Jan 2020.


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