India’s smallest union territory gets submarine connectivity

India’s smallest union territory gets submarine connectivity

India’s smallest union territory, and arguably one of its most remote, is to enjoy submarine cable connectivity for the first time.

The Kochi-Lakshadweep islands submarine optical fibre connection (KLI-SOFC) project, approved by the government in late 2020 and inaugurated recently by Prime Minister Modi, has now been completed, according to India’s Economic Times.

It brings submarine optic fibre cable to Lakshadweep, an archipelago of 36 islands 200 to 440 kilometres off the Malabar Coast of India. More precisely the KLI-SOFC project provides submarine cable connectivity from Kochi, a city in southwest India's coastal Kerala state, to eleven Lakshadweep islands. The total link distance is said to be 1,868 kilometres.

The dedicated submarine cable will vastly improve internet speeds and, in turn, facilities like government services, medical treatment, education and digital banking, as well as potentially developing Lakshadweep as a logistics hub.

Until this project, the only means of communication with the islands and their estimated 68,500 population was through satellite, which had limited bandwidth capacity and was not able to meet the growing bandwidth demand.

The project is funded by the Department of Telecommunication’s (DOT) Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF). Service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was the project executing agency. The project work was awarded to NEC Corporation India.

The bandwidth created under this project will be available to all telecom service providers to strengthen their services in the Lakshadweep Islands.

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