Lakshadweep to get cheaper broadband thanks to new submarine cable plan

The government of India “has developed” a plan to improve Internet connectivity in Lakshadweep Islands, communications minister Manoj Sinha said today.

Lakshadweep Islands, home to about 70,000 people, are currently connected by satellite, which restricts the bandwidth and increases the cost of connectivity.

The move follows the approval given to a Rs 1,100 cr project to lay a fiber cable to the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal in late 2016.

“A similar plan on the lines of Andaman & Nicobar Islands has been developed for improved connectivity in Lakshadweep Islands which includes laying of submarine optical cable between Kochi to Lakshadweep Islands, augmentation of satellite bandwidth and extended mobile coverage,” Sinha said.

A proposal to connect Lakshadweep with fiber was mooted as early as 2014, but plans have never been finalized.

The plan, if given Cabinet approval, will be implemented with the help of the Universal Services Obligation Fund or USOF.

Lakshadweep Islands lie at a distance of 200 to 440 km off the Kerala coast. Of these, only ten are inhabited.

The islands form the smallest Union Territory of India with a total surface area of just 32 sq km.

They were under the control of the Portuguese, who arrived around 1498. About 50 years later, they were overthrown and the kingdom was ruled by the local Muslim house of Arakkal.

The British took control in 1799 and ruled it till about 1956.