PM inaugurates Kochi–Lakshadweep undersea internet cable

The ₹1,156-crore projects include the Kochi-Lakshadweep Submarine Optical Fibre Cable to provide 100 Gbps internet connectivity to the islands

January 03, 2024 07:38 pm | Updated January 04, 2024 08:10 am IST - KOCHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration and foundation stone laying ceremony of various developmental projects, in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration and foundation stone laying ceremony of various developmental projects, in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

The undersea cable link “will ensure 100 times faster Internet for the people of Lakshadweep”, Mr. Modi said in his remarks during the inauguration.

Kavaratti, Lakshadweep’s capital, will be connected along with the islands of Agatti, Amini, Kadmat, Chetlet, Kalpeni, Minicoy, Androth, Kiltan, Bangaram and Bitra, the government said. The collective 1,868 kilometres of cables will allow telecom companies and internet service providers to offer 4G, 5G and high-speed home broadband for the first time in the archipelago.

Cables laid by BSNL

The cables have been laid by state-owned telco BSNL, while the project was executed by Japanese firm NEC. The project was funded through the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which is set to be renamed as Digital Bharat Nidhi after the Telecommunications Act, 2023 is notified.

Internet service providers and telecom operators will now have to purchase bandwidth on the 200 Gbps cable system, and make sure that they have last-mile connectivity facilities for residents of the islands. A similar cable system connecting Chennai and Andaman and Nicobar Islands saw limited bandwidth purchases from telcos three years after it was launched, The Hindu found last April.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on a visit to the Lakshadweep islands on Tuesday, inaugurated projects worth ₹1,156 crore. A communication from the Lakshadweep administration on Wednesday said that the projects included the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fibre Cable project implemented at a cost of ₹1,072 crore to provide 100 Gbps internet connectivity to the islands; low temperature thermal desalination plant at Kadmat Island with the capacity to produce 1.5 lakh litres of drinking water per day; functional tap connections in all the households of Agatti and Minicoy Islands under the Jan Jeevan Mission; and 1.4 MW solar power plant in Kavaratti with battery energy storage system.

The Prime Minister also inaugurated the headquarters of Indian Reserve Battalion at Kavaratti and laid the foundation for the renovation of a primary health care facility on Kalpeni Island at a cost of ₹28 crore and five Nand Ghar model Anganwadi on the islands of Agatti, Minicoy, Androth, Chetlat and Kalpeni, said the press release.

Laptops for students

Mr. Modi distributed laptops to college students, bicycles to girl schoolstudents, Kisan Credit Cards and PMJAY Cards. The Prime Minister highlighted the efforts of the government to develop Lakshadweep and informed the the gathering about achieving saturation of PM Awas Yojana (Gramin), free ration being made available to every beneficiary, distribution of PM Kisan Credit Cards and Ayushman Cards and the planned development of Ayushman Arogya Mandir Health and Wellness Centres in various Islands.

Higher education

Mr. Modi pointed out the absence of any higher education institution in Lakshadweep in the previous years which led to an exodus of the youth from the Islands. On the steps taken to stem this outflow, he mentioned the launch of educational institutions for arts and science on Andrott and Kadmat islands and Polytechnic College in Minicoy.

He spoke of the steps being taken for the Hajis that have benefited the people of Lakshadweep too. He also mentioned the benefits to the islands from increased seafood exports from the country, including tuna from Lakshadweep and the exploration of the potential of seaweed farming.

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