Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a ₹1,224-crore optic fibre-based telecom connectivity initiative between Chennai and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, which is expected to facilitate ease of living for locals and boost tourism.
Based on the undersea optic fibre cable link, Airtel became the first telco to launch its 4G services on the island.
“It will facilitate ease of living. Tourists may stay longer in Andaman, and it will provide more job opportunities locally,” Modi said in a televised address Monday, and added that citizens would get Digital India benefits such as online education, banking, shopping, and telemedicine services.
The 2,313-km undersea cable between Chennai and Port Blair was implemented by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam. The fibre-based network connects seven islands — Swaraj Dweep (Havlock), Long Island, Rangat, Little Andaman, Kamorta, Car Nicobar, and Greater Nicobar.
“The digital infrastructure deployed today would help in improving telecom connectivity in Andaman & Nicobar Islands,” said telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. “Between Chennai and Port Blair, there is the deep sea at some places and despite challenges, this initiative was completed in record time.” At a press briefing, Prasad said a tender for 354 uncovered villages in strategic, remote and border areas had been finalised and was under implementation.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, said, “We hope the Department of Telecom will accelerate the deployment of USOF for building such infrastructure backbone to complement the efforts of telecom operators to bridge the digital divide.”