The fight for fast and affordable internet in Andaman & Nicobar Islands continues... #4GforAll #InternetinAndaman

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tl;dr

The Chennai and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (CANI) Submarine Cable Systems Project was slated to be completed by June, 2020. However, it has still not been completed with no official statement of a new timeline. We wrote to Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma, the Honourable Member of Parliament for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands stating our concerns and urging him to escalate the matter with PMO and MeitY.

The Chennai and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (CANI) Submarine Cable Systems Project

On January 9, 2020, Shri R.S. Prasad, Hon’ble Minister of Communications. Electronics & IT and Law & Justice inaugurated the cable-laying work of the CANI Project. The cables are of four-fibre pairs, with the capacity to transfer 6.4 tera-bytes of data per second by each fibre-pair. At the initial stage of commissioning of the project itself, the islands are supposed to get a data speed of 400-gigabytes per second which is nearly 100 times of the existing capacity. The project, which was scheduled to be completed by June, 2020, has still not been completed.

On June 5, 2020, we filed a Right to Information request with BSNL (Andaman & Nicobar Islands) requesting them to provide us with information about the CANI Project. In their reply dated June 29, 2020, they refused to answer most of our queries and failed to provide us with a timeline of when the project will be completed and operationalized.



As pointed out in our previous blogposts (read here and here), access to fast and affordable internet has been a persistent issue in the A&N Islands. This issue has only worsened due to the ongoing pandemic where people have become increasingly dependent on the internet.


Next step?

Previously, we wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Department of Telecommunications highlighting the prevalent issues and providing certain recommendations on June 26, 2020. However, after failing to receive any response from them and in light of the RTI response received we decided to write to Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma, the Hon’ble Member of Parliament for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In our letter, we have voiced the same concerns and raised similar demands as in our previous letter. Further, we have requested him to escalate the matter with the PMO and DoT so that the people of A&N Islands can be made aware of the current timeline of the CANI Project.

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Important Documents:

  1. Letter to Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma on the CANI Project dated July 25, 2020 (link)
  2. For the people of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, 4G internet at reasonable tariffs is still a dream... dated June 10, 2020 (link)
  3. We wrote to the PMO & DoT on the Access to Internet issue which is persisting in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands dated June 26, 2020 (link)
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