The Union Cabinet yesterday gave its approval for laying down submarine optical fiber cable connectivity between Kochi and Lakshadweep Islands (KLI Project) which envisages a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine optical fiber cable (OFC) between Kochi and 11 Islands of Lakshadweep viz Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Agati, Amini, Androth, Minicoy, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kiltan&Kadmat.
The project will cost around Rs 1,072 crore including operational expenses for 5 years which will be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been nominated as Project Execution Agency and Telecommunications Consultant India Ltd. (TCIL) as the Technical Consultant of the project to assist USOF, DoT. The ownership of the project will lie with USOF, DoT which is likely to be completed by May 2023.
The submarine optical fiber cable connectivity will improve the telecommunication facility in the Lakshadweep Islands by providing large bandwidth playing a vital role for the delivery of e-Governance services at the doorstep of citizens, potential development of fisheries, coconut-based industries and provide adequate support to educational institues for knowledge sharing.
Currently the only medium of providing telecom connectivity to Lakshadweep is through satellites but the bandwidth available is limited to 1Gbps. The lack of bandwidth is a major constraint in providing data services, which is pre-requisite for providing e-governance, e-education, e-banking etc for inclusive growth of society.