NEC Corporation India has successfully completed the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Cable (KLI), an essential optical submarine cable system that connects Kochi with the Lakshadweep Islands, said a statement.
This significant achievement, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his initial visit to the southern islands on January 3, is a key component of the ‘Digital India' Mission.
This project represents NEC's second foray into the construction of an optical submarine cable system, following their earlier execution of connecting Chennai with the Andaman & Nicobar Islands in December 2020.
The initiative to connect the Lakshadweep Islands with a submarine optical fiber cable within 1,000 days was announced by Prime Minister Modi on India's 74th Independence Day speech in 2020.
Funded by the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) under the union government's Department of Telecommunications, the project was executed by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a state-owned telecommunications company.
NEC India, awarded this project by BSNL in September 2021, said has completed it ahead of the scheduled deadline. The system spans approximately 1,870 kilometers, offering an initial capacity of 2×100 Gbps, with the potential to expand up to 1,600 Gbps per fiber pair.
The cable system connects Kochi, a major port city, with 11 Lakshadweep islands: Agatti, Andrott, Amini, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kavaratti, Kiltan, Kelpeni, and Minicoy. It provides essential bandwidth for voice and data connectivity, supporting e-governance initiatives, enabling new business ventures, and facilitating e-commerce services.
NEC states that this project aligns with the Digital India Mission's goals of promoting knowledge sharing in educational institutes and ensuring electronic access to government services for the citizenry.
“The successful completion of the KLI cable project, our second venture with BSNL, marks a pivotal moment in NEC's collaboration with the Government of India towards building a connected nation,” said Aalok Kumar, Corporate Officer & Senior VP – Head of the Global Smart City Business at NEC Corporation, and President & CEO of NEC Corporation India.
“This initiative not only puts Lakshadweep on the digital map, it also galvanises socio-economic growth of the region. With a forward-looking data capacity and a focus on connecting people globally,” Kumar said.
With over six decades of experience, NEC said it has established itself as a prominent player in the global submarine cable system industry, specialising in manufacturing submarine cables, submarine repeaters, and terminal station equipment.
Additionally, it is involved in various aspects of the project, including marine surveys, route design, equipment installation, cable laying, training, and delivery testing.
Recognising the rising demand for new submarine cables due to the proliferation of 5G technology and increased data traffic between data centers worldwide, NEC said it has taken a proactive step by chartering a dedicated cable-laying ship for the first time.
This strategic move enables NEC to respond more efficiently and adapt to customer demands, ensuring the timely provision of submarine cable systems, said the company.