State-run Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL), which has been entrusted with the task of preparing a project report on telecom connectivity in Andaman and Nicobar islands, is expected to submit the document by September.
Telecom services in Andaman and Nicobar islands are largely dependent of satellite based communication services. The government is preparing plan to connect them with undersea cable which was earlier estimated to cost about Rs 800 crore.
"TCIL on May 30 submitted a techno commercial details for preparing the detailed project report (DPR). TCIL estimates that the DPR will be submitted to DoT by September," an official said.
Strong telecom connectivity is vital in A&NI from strategic, defence and internal security point of view.
The plan for the islands is being prepared under the aegis of Planning Commission and the proposed undersea cable will be extended from Chennai.
The project is proposed to be rolled out in two phases. In first phase Port Blair, Car Nicobar and Little Andaman would be connected with submarine cable.
The second phase of the project is proposed to connect Havelock, Kamorta and Great Nicobar islands.
"A&NI administration has to provide us with tourist and visitor data to work out bandwidth requirements. The connectivity North Andaman, Middle Andaman, Baratang Islands and South Andaman would be provided through terrestrial optical fibre cable (OFC) from Port Blair cable landing station," the official said.
DoT will separately assess bandwidth requirement of Defence forces on the islands.
Further, the government will seek recommendation of telecom regulator TRAI on intra-island and inter-island connectivity.
The capital investment for the submarine OFC will be provided by Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) for which DoT will create a separate budget. It is proposed that Planning Commission will help the department in ensuring adequate provision for capital investments.
As per broad outline of the project, A&NI administration will have to fund the gap between operational expenses and revenue earned from the project.