Andaman & Nicobar Islands Current Affairs

Union Cabinet approves submarine OFC connectivity between Chennai and Andaman & Nicobar Islands

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) between Chennai (mainland India) and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The submarine OFC will connect mainland with Port Blair and five other islands viz. Little Andaman, Havelock, Car Nicobar, Kamorta and Great Nicobar.

Key Facts

  • The estimated cost of the project is 1102.38 crore rupees including operational expenses for 5 years. The project will be be completed by December 2018.
  • It will equip Andaman & Nicobar Islands with appropriate bandwidth and telecom connectivity.
  • It will help the islands to implement the e-Governance initiatives also enterprises & e-commerce facilities.
  • It will also provide adequate support to educational institutes for knowledge sharing, fulfil the vision of Digital India and availability of job opportunities.

Why it is important to provide OFC connectivity to Andaman and Nicobar Islands?

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are strategically located in the Bay of Bengal and their geographical configuration safeguard India’s eastern seaboard.
  • Provision of secure, robust, reliable, and affordable telecom facilities in these islands is of importance from a strategic point of view to the country.
  • Besides, the internet connectivity is also an important requirement for the socio-economic development of the islands.

Background

  • Currently the only available medium of providing telecom connectivity between Mainland and Andaman & Nicobar Islands is though satellites, but bandwidth is limited to 1 Gbps.
  • Satellite bandwidth availability is limited and is very costly. Thus future bandwidth requirement of islands cannot be met solely through it.
  • Besides there is issue of redundancy with the satellite communication and there is no alternate media is available in case of any emergency.
  • Lack of telecom connectivity and bandwidth is also hampering socio-economic development of the islands.
  • Thus, it is essential to provide submarine OFC connectivity between Mainland India and Islands for catering to projected future bandwidth requirements.

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