Dr. Dinesh

CANI-SMCP (Chennai Andaman & Nicobar Islands-Sub-marine Cable Project) is basically provisioning of submarine Optical Fibre 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. Main Segment will be Chennai- Port Blair; (Initial Equipped Capacity: 400 Gbps); Other Segments (Initial Equipped Capacity:200 Gbps)

4 Fibre Pair Cable System, out of which, Two Fibre pairs (FP) are installed initially. One will remain spare. Ultimate bandwidth capacity is 6.4 terabytes per second, per fibre-pair (there are two pairs); the physical connectivity will remain within the islands and the mainland only. 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 ever, conservatively speaking. Of course, with increasing number of users, the speed will reduce somewhat, but still phenomenal. The under-sea cable has been laid and connected between Chennai and Port Blair. The first voice-call has also been 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.

Consider current speed at 200 mbps, which is more than actually available. New immediate capacity between Chennai and Port Blair is 400 GB, that is 400000 mbps, now divide this by 200 mbps, the result is 2000 times. Similarly in the other Islands, consider current bandwidth as 100mbps, new bandwidth initially will be 200000 mbps, result is 2000 times, the ultimate capacity is 6.4 TBps, that is equal to 6400000mbps, divide that by the existing 200mbps, the result is 32000 times.

Also consider that the current Internet bandwidth in the Island is much lesser than 200mbps, so even conservatively, the difference will be much higher. Again, there will be many more subscribers sharing the 400GBps or the ultimate 6.4TBps bandwidth, which will reduce the individual bandwidth/ data speed in multiples, but even then it will be significantly higher.

The maximum available bandwidth at any time, in the existing scenario is one GB(shared into number of total users), the immediate new capacity will be 400 GB between Port Blair and Chennai and 200 GB between Port Blair and other locations, this capacity can be augmented upto 64000 GB(6.4TBps),( so you can calculate the increase in internet speed accordingly.

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’s 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 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 Wild-life 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.