Submarine optical fibre cable to connect mainland and Lakshadweep

The government is implementing a submarine optical fibre cable project to connect mainland and the 11 islands of Lakshadweep to ensure direct communication with the archipelago.

A meeting of the union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday gave its approval for Kochi-Lakshadweep submarine optical fibre cable connectivity between mainland (Kochi) and Lakshadweep Islands (KLI Project).
The Project envisages provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine ptical fibre cable (OFC) between Kochi and the 11 Islands of Lakshadweep, viz, Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Agati, Amini, Androth, Minicoy, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kiltan&Kadmat.
The estimated cost of implementation of the project is about Rs1,072 crore, including operational expenses for 5 years. The project would be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund.
Once completed, the submarine optical fibre cable connectivity will vastly improve telecommunication facility in the Lakshadweep Islands by providing large bandwidth.
The submarine connectivity project will have vital role for door-step 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. It will help in establishment of numerous businesses, augment e-commerce activities and provide adequate support to educational institutes for knowledge sharing. The Lakshadweep Islands have the potential to become a hub of logistic services.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) has been nominated as project execution agency and Telecommunications Consultant India Ltd. (TCIL) as the technical consultant for the project to assist Universal Service Obligation Fund, Department of Telecommunications. The ownership of the asset under the project will rest with USOF, the funding agency, under DoT. The project is targeted to be completed by May 2023.
Union Territory of Lakshadweep comprising a number of Islands is situated in the Arabian Sea and is of immense strategic significance for India. Provision of secure, robust, reliable and affordable telecom facilities is of utmost importance for the people living in these islands as also from a strategic point of view for the whole country.
At present, the only medium of providing telecom connectivity to Lakshadweep is through satellites, but the bandwidth available is limited to 1 Gbps. Lack of bandwidth is a major constraint in providing data services, which is a pre-requisite for providing e-governance, e-education, e-banking etc. for inclusive growth of society.
Plan for laying the submarine optical fibre cable to Lakshadweep Islands has been under consideration for some time. High bandwidth communication facility to the islands is also in consonance with realising the national objective of strengthening e-governance services and achieving the vision of Digital India.