The Indian Government has given the green signal for a project to lay submarine fiber optic cables from Kochi to Lakshadweep Islands. Fiber optic cable connectivity will greatly improve the communication services in the islands. Submarine fiber optic cable will be laid between Kochi, which is the financial capital of the southern state of Kerala, and Lakshadweep Islands.
The project is known as the KLI Project Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Project. KLI Project envisages the provision of a communication link by installing a dedicated undersea fiber cable to the 11 Islands of Lakshadweep. The 11 islands of Lakshadweep are Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Agati, Amini, Androth, Minicoy, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kiltan, and kadmat.
The incumbent telecom operator BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) has been nominated as Project Execution Agency and Telecommunications Consultant India Ltd. (TCIL) as the Technical Consultant of 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.
Indian Government estimates the project cost for the KLI project to be around USD 143 million. This cost calculation includes operational expenses for 5 years. The Project would be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund. The project is targeted to be completed by May 2023.
Submarine fiber optic cables form the communication nervous system of the global community. For countries with isolated islands, delivering modern communication services to the residents in the islands is a must for national integration and unity. Apart from this, the developments in the telecom infrastructure are closely linked with economic and social development.
Fiber optic network deployments play a vital role in employment generation. The provision of submarine optical fiber cable connectivity will vastly improve telecommunication facilities in the Lakshadweep Islands by providing large bandwidth.
The submarine fiber connectivity project is necessary for the delivery of e-Governance services, telemedicine, remote learning, etc. For Lakshadweep Islands, the fiber optic cables will help for the potential development of fisheries, coconut-based industries and high-value tourism, educational development in terms of distance education, and health care in terms of telemedicine facilities. It will help in the 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.
Though Lakshadweep is a Union Territory comprising many Islands, its culture and people are culturally closer to the Southern State of Kerala. Lakshadweep is situated in the Arabian Sea and of immense strategic significance for the Indian Government. 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.
Indian Government uses Satellite communication means for delivering services in the islands. Therefore the bandwidth is limited. Current bandwidth 1 Gbps. Lack of bandwidth is a major constraint in providing data services. Bandwidth related problems of the islands can be solved with the arrival of a new fiber optic cable.