Digital India Initiatives

Submarine Cable Connectivity to Andaman and Nicobar Islands


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Optical fibre cables and their working, AandN Islands

Mains level: Digital India outreach in AandN Islands

PM has launched the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands to the mainland.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Consider the following statements regarding optical fibres:

  1. A layer called the cladding, which has a refractive index more than that of the core, surrounds the core of the optical fibre.
  2. Light is propagated in an optical fibre by refraction and internal reflection.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?(CSP 2010)

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

What is a submarine communications cable?

  • A submarine communications cable is a cable laid on the seabed between land-based stations to transmit telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean and sea.
  • The optical fibre elements are typically individually coated with plastic layers and contained in a protective tube suitable for the environment where the cable will be deployed.
  • Compared to satellites, using internet connection through submarine cables is more reliable, cost-efficient and of large capacity.

About the project

  • About 2,300 km of submarine optical fibre cable (OFC) has been laid at a cost of about Rs 1,224 crore to provide better connectivity in the UT.
  • The project envisages better connectivity from Chennai to Port Blair and seven other Islands — Swaraj Deep (Havelock), Long Island, Rangat, Hutbay (Little Andaman), Kamorta, Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay (Great Nicobar).
  • The project is funded by the government through the Universal Service Obligation Fund under the ministry of communications.
  • The foundation stone for the project was laid by PM Modi in December 2018 at Port Blair.

Expected outcomes

  • The OFC will enable the delivery of faster and more reliable mobile and landline telecom services to Andaman & Nicobar Islands, at par with other parts of India.
  • The submarine optical fibre cable link will deliver bandwidth of 2 x 200 Gigabits per second (Gbps) between Chennai and Port Blair, and 2 x 100 Gbps between Port Blair and the other islands.
  • 4G mobile services, which were constrained due to limited backhaul bandwidth provided via satellite, will also see a major boost.

Benefits of the project

  • Better connectivity in the region will facilitate the delivery of e-governance services such as telemedicine and tele-education.
  • E-commerce: Small enterprises will benefit from opportunities in e-commerce, while educational institutions will utilise the enhanced availability of bandwidth for e-learning and knowledge sharing.
  • Business Process Outsourcing services and other medium and large enterprises too also benefit from better connectivity.
  • Low cost internet:The internet bills in Andaman and Nicobar will also come down substantially.

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