CANI-SMCP( Chennai Andaman &Nicobar Islands – Sub-marine Cable
Project) is basically provisioning of submarine Optical Fiber connectivity between Chennai and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. A successful test run was done between Port Blair and Chennai late in the evening on 7/3/2020. It is a Govt. of India project, implemented by the USOF unit of Dept. of Telecom, with consultancy by M/s. TCIL. BSNL, is the Project Executing Agency(PEA), for implementation of the Project, on behalf of DOT-USOF. A Global tender was conducted to select an organization for actually laying and configuring the under-sea cable. The lowest bidder is M/s. NECTI, Japan. Activities include, Civil and Electrical infrastructure in the form of Cable-landing stations at nine places including Chennai. The rest of the eight places in Andaman & Nicobar Islands are Port Blair, Havelock, Hut-Bay, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Campbell Bay, Long Island &Rangat.
Land-cables between the Beach Man-Hole (BMH) and cable-landing stations at various locations have been laid. For example, the BMH of Port Blair is near the Corbyn’s Cove beach. Currently, the under-sea mapping has been done. The cable laying has been completed in most island nodes.
Some of the basic information about the project are as below:
- Total route length will be 2250 kms.
- Main Segment will be Chennai- Port Blair;( Initial Equipped Capacity: 400 Gbps);Other Segments(Initial Equipped Capacity : 200 Gbps);
- 4 Fiber Pair Cable System, out of which, Two Fiber pairs (FP) are installed initially. One will remain spare. Ultimate bandwidth capacity is 6.4 terabytes per second, per fiber-pair (there are two pairs);the physical connectivity will remain within the islands and the mainland only;
- 2 ships are currently on the job. Vessel CS Strider and Vessel CS Responder. PLGR(Pre Lay Grapnel Run) activities and Shore end installation work almost complete;
Port Blair will have hi-speed data-connectivity by April 2020, while other islands will have the same services within a few months. The Submarine cable project is about to usher in a revolution in Internet Bandwidth in the Islands. People will enjoy about a 1000 times higher speed than earlier, conservatively speaking. Ofcourse, with increasing number of users, the speed will reduce somewhat, but still phenomenal comparatively.
The first voice-call was made on 07/03/2020 between Port Blair and Chennai, using the facility and this is just the beginning. From Port Blair to the other stations at Havelock, Long Island, Rangat, Hut Bay, Car Nicobar, Kamorta and Campbell Bay, under-sea cable is being laid currently. In some cases, this activity is also over.
Civil/ Electrical infrastructure activities are on-going, in stations like Car Nicobar, Long Island, Rangat and Kamorta. Logistics was a very big challenge to meet the deadline, in this state-of-the-art project of global standards. But the BSNL team, in coordination with M/s NECTI, TCIL and Department of Telecom, along with the local bodies, have overcome most difficulties.
The project is already a big success technologically and strategically. The real success will be visible then, when it changes the lives of the Islanders for the better, in the coming future. Currently, the back-end connectivity are going on, in between the CLS and the local telephone exchanges and BTSs. In order to extend the extra band-width to the customers, the back-haul of BTSs are being upgraded and expanded.
Similarly, DSLAMs(Digital Subscriber Line Access Mutliplexer) of all Exchanges are being upgraded in the back-end. The back-bone network in various places too is being upgraded, so that they can fully utilize the newly-laid OFC infrastructure. Many units of BSNL are closely coordinating with each other and also, other agencies to tie up these loose ends. Various other clearances, like environmental clearance, etc are also being pursued in parallel.
It will be an important development as the Islands are of strategic importance to India. By and by there will be a plethora of choice for the individual users regarding the broadband service providers. Naturally, competition will ensure that people get the best connectivity at an affordable price. The situation may lead to an IT boom in the Islands, which means, a lot of development and opportunities for the younger generation and entrepreneurs alike, even in the remotest part of the country. One can use their existing modems, etc, or may also upgrade them, if one chooses.
There will be a synergy of various events, like On-line retailing will take off in a big way. The islanders can take advantage of tele-medicine and distant-education on the back of a reliable, high-capacity bandwidth and feel more integrated with the rest of the country, or the World at large, like never before. They can truly become a part of the global economy. The socio-economic ecosystem is bound to change and the Islands can be India’s far-eastern gate-way for the global economy. Individuals can become local content-providers and consultants on a global scale. The scope is unlimited and will slowly unfold in the coming times.