Undersea cables play a crucial role in connecting countries and continents across the world. They are the backbone of the global communication infrastructure, providing high-speed, reliable, and secure communication networks. The capacity of undersea cable operators in India has significantly increased from 2016 to 2021. With a surge in data usage in the country, data collected by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) reveals that the total activated capacity of cable landing stations has increased nine times, and the lit capacity has increased four times.
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India's Demand for International Bandwidth
According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India's demand for international bandwidth is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 38% and reach ten times its current level by 2028. As of present, India has 17 submarine cables ( if Seacom and MENA are considered separate cables) coming from different parts of the world to connect with the terrestrial networks at the cable landing stations near the coast.
These subsea cables land in 14 distinct cable landing stations in 5 cities across India, namely, Mumbai, Chennai, Cochin, Tuticorin and Trivandrum. Mumbai and Chennai have the maximum concentration of submarine cables. According to TRAI, the lit capacity and the activated capacity on these 17 international subsea cables were 123.87 Tbps and 83.8 Tbps, respectively, by the end of 2021.
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What is Lit Capacity
Lit capacity refers to the amount of bandwidth or data transmission capacity available and ready for use in a fiber optic cable or network. It is the actual amount of capacity that customers can utilize for transmitting data, voice, and other forms of communication. The term "lit" refers to the fact that the optical fibers within the cable have been activated and are ready for use. The lit capacity of a cable or network is an essential factor in determining its overall performance and capacity to support various communication services.
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According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) report, new undersea cables, either in the planning stages or under construction, will reach the shores of various coastal cities, including newly added locations such as Digha in West Bengal and Mahuva in Gujarat.