Port Blair, May 18: The Member of Parliament of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mr Kuldeep Rai Sharma has requested the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to provide parallel internet connectivity through undersea OFC cable to A&N Islands from Puri in Odisha to Diglipur (North & Middle Andaman), Link Shaheed Dweep (Neil) Island in the planned 2nd OFC submarine link and to bring the high speed internet tariffs at par with mainland, by waiving-off the CANI segment charges for 5 to 10 years
In a letter addressed to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, the Member of Parliament mentioned that the start of the CANI OFC system between Chennai and Port Blair started on 10th August, 2020 has brought a new era in the history of A&N Islands as it has facilitated seamless net connectivity in seven different Islands.
He added that during initial two years of COVID-19 pandemic only because of launching of High Speed internet, which was possible due to completion of Submarine Optical Fiber cable project, people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands could attend online offices and meetings and children could attend online classes.
Highlighting the crucial issue of providing parallel internet connectivity through undersea OFC cable to A&N Islands from Puri in Odisha to Diglipur (North & Middle Andaman), the Member of Parliament said that in addition to tourism development, the high bandwidth internet connectivity which the CANI network promises would hopefully usher in the arrival of a large pool of Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology enabled service (ITeS) investors into these Islands.
He added that this will surely cater to the employment requirement of thousands of local educated unemployed youths who migrate to mainland cities like Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore for IT and related jobs.
However, while the high bandwidth internet would be a core requirement for the IT & ITeS industry, the single CANI OFC network will not boost the investors’ sentiment in the absence of a parallel network as believed by industry veterans.
He added that aspiring industrialists in IT & ITeS sector are concerned over any sudden breakdown or failure of the existing CANI OFC network which will paralyze the IT & ITeS industries besides other digital services like e.banking, e.governance, e.trading, e.procurement, e.teaching etc.
He pointed out that even a single day of outage over breakdown of CANI OFC would prove costly for the industry as feared by the industry veterans. As such, additional connectivity would insulate the industry against temporary outages and connectivity failure.
Hence the Member of Parliament requested the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to provide a parallel internet connectivity through undersea OFC cable to A&N Islands from Puri in Odisha to Diglipur (North & Middle Andaman) a shortest route in addition to the existing CANI OFC cable which will ensure uninterrupted connectivity even if the other grids has failed due to any an unforeseen reason.
Regarding linking Shaheed Dweep (Neil) Island in the planned 2nd OFC Submarine link, the Member of Parliament requested that while sanctioning 2nd OFC link to A&N Islands there is need to consider linking an important tourist destination i.e. Shaheed Deep (Neil) Island in the 2nd OFC submarine link which would cater to the overall development of the Island.
On the issue of bringing the high speed internet tariffs at par with mainland, by waiving-off the CANI segment charges, the Member of Parliament said that from the affordability point of view the tariffs for FTTH /Broadband connections in Andaman and Nicobar Islands are much higher than those offered in the mainland.
He added that the aim of CANI Cable was to bridge the telecom gap between mainland and the islands, technically the gap has been bridged by installing CAN cable, however financially for a common user the same is yet to be bridged primarily because the tariffs for FTTH/ Broadband connections are much higher than that offered in mainland. As per the TSPs, this is due to the CANI segment charges borne by them. This has become a bottleneck for important sectors like tourism to grow in A&N islands.
Hence, he requested the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India that the high speed internet tariffs may be brought at par with mainland, by waiving-off the CANI segment charges so that affordable telecom & ICT services can reach to all far-flung areas of these islands.
The Member of Parliament further pointed out that MHA through A&N Administration is already bearing the cost of CANI maintenance charges and hence he requested the PM to direct DOT to start the work of 2nd OFC submarine cable link to Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Puri, so that IT firms can set up their establishments in the Islands.