The Indian government on Friday announced that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Submarine Optical Fibre Cable Connectivity between Chennai and Andman and Nicobar Islands (CANI Project) on August 10, 2020. The CANI project is said to enable high speed connectivity to the residents of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Further, the project is also said to offer “more reliable” landline and mobile services “at par with other parts of India.” In a release, the Prime Minister's office highlighted that the foundation stone for the project was laid by Modi on December 30, 2018.
CANI Project to be Inaugurated on August 10
The Submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Chennai and Port Blair is said to deliver 2x 200 Gbps between the two cities. Further, the project is also said to deliver 2x100 Gbps between Port Blair and other islands.
“Provision of reliable, robust and high-speed telecom and Broadband facilities in these Islands will be a landmark achievement from the viewpoint of consumers, as well as for strategic and governance reasons,” a release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said. “4G mobile services, which were constrained due to limited backhaul bandwidth provided via satellite will also see a major improvement.”
It has to be noted that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) on July 1, 2020 was set to revamp its broadband, Bharat Fiber and mobile services in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, the revamp now delayed by the operator was tied to the CANI project and included higher speeds on broadband along with revision in tariff.
“Enhanced telecom and Broadband connectivity will boost tourism and employment generation in the Islands, give an impetus to the economy and raise standards of living," PMO release said. "Better connectivity will also facilitate delivery of e-Governance services such as telemedicine and tele-education.”
It is now expected that BSNL will deliver revamped broadband, Bharat Fiber and mobile services post the inauguration of the CANI project. The operator in a release on Wednesday requested the authorities in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to permit necessary movement of BSNL staff, officials and vehicles in the Island. BSNL said that the seamless movement of its staff and vehicles were required for “commissioning CANI System and also providing quality telecom services” across the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
“Small enterprises will benefit from opportunities in e-commerce, while educational institutions will utilize the enhanced availability of bandwidth for e-learning and knowledge sharing,” PMO release said. “Business Process Outsourcing services and other medium and large enterprises will also reap the benefits of better connectivity.”
CANI Project Funded by Government of India
The PMO release highlighted that the project is funded by the government of India through the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) under the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications. It was also said that BSNL executed the project while Telecommunications Consultants India (TCIL) acted as technical consultants. The undersea cable connecting Chennai and Port Blair along with Port Blair and the seven islands is said to be about 2300 km in length with the project costing Rs 1224 crores.
For consumers, the revamped BSNL plans also eliminates data overage charges on its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) plans. The operator had also planned to introduce 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps speeds on its Bharat Fiber FTTH plans as part of the revamp. Unlike the mainland, BSNL restricts the speeds on its FTTH plans to 10 Mbps across all price points in its Andaman and Nicobar circle. The revamped BSNL Bharat Fiber plans with improved speeds is said to be offered at existing price points in the range of Rs 799 to Rs 7999.
Similarly, the revamped ADSL plans with over 50% additional benefits in speed and data allowance would also have been delivered at existing price points. The operator currently offers eight ADSL broadband plans in its Andaman and Nicobar circle with the plans priced in the range of Rs 350 to Rs 7500.
T.K.Jijith Rekh, state spokesperson of BJP Andaman and Nicobar Islands said in a tweet on Saturday that the islanders pay “highest tariff in India.”
“We Islanders would like to bring to your knowledge that at present we are paying highest Tariff in India,” Rekh said.