Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Chennai and Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar, via video conferencing.

The foundation stone for the project was laid by PM Modi on December 30, 2018 at Port Blair.

The project will enable delivery of faster and more reliable mobile and landline telecommunication services to the islands, on par with other parts of India.

“This optical fibre cable project is a gift for the people of Andaman before the Independence Day. This is a symbol of our commitment towards ease of living. Be it online classes, tourism, banking, shopping, or telemedicine, thousands of families in Andaman and Nicobar will now get access,” PM Modi said in his address.

He said tourists going to Andaman will also now reap benefits of the facility as better net connectivity has become the first priority of any tourist destination. “The problem of mobile and Internet connectivity has now been resolved. Apart from this, physical connectivity through road, air, and water is also being strengthened,” he added.

He pointed out that the project will lead to high-speed broadband connectivity, fast and reliable mobile and landline telecom services, which in turn will give a big boost to the local economy and delivery of e-governance, telemedicine, and tele-education services.

Further speaking on the project, PM Modi said completing the work of laying 2,300 km-long cable under sea before the scheduled time is praiseworthy. “Deep-sea surveys, maintaining cable quality and laying cable using special ships is not easy,” he added.

After a period of three decades, the Prime Minister said, India’s first deep-draft greenfield seaport at West Coast has received principal approval and added that the construction work of deep-draft inner harbour is also underway at East Coast.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that the role of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is very crucial and is going to be enhanced further under India’s Act East Policy. He said the importance of including our islands including Andaman and Nicobar has increased as India is following the new policy and practice of trade and cooperation in Indo-Pacific.

The OFC project is funded by the government of India through the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) under the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications.

About 2,300-km long cable has been laid at a cost of about Rs 1,224 crore.

The submarine cable will also connect Port Blair to Swaraj Dweep, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Great Nicobar, Long Island, and Rangat.

The submarine OFC link will deliver a bandwidth of 2×200 Gigabits per second between Chennai and Port Blair, and 2×100 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.

The 4G mobile services, which were constrained due to limited backhaul bandwidth provided via satellite, will also see a major improvement.

Enhanced telecom and broadband connectivity will boost tourism and employment generation in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and also give an impetus to the economy and thus raise the standards of living of the populace.

Better connectivity will also facilitate delivery of e-governance services such as telemedicine and tele-education. Small enterprises will benefit from the opportunities in e-commerce, while educational institutions will utilise the enhanced availability of bandwidth for e-learning and knowledge-sharing.

Business Process Outsourcing services and other medium and large enterprises will also reap the benefits of better connectivity.

(With inputs from IANS)