NEC completes submarine cable system, connecting Kochi and Lakshadweep Islands

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Tokyo/New Delhi: NEC Corporation India (NEC India) and NEC Corporation announced the successful completion of a flagship optical submarine cable system in southern India that connects Kochi and the Lakshadweep Islands.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Cable (KLI), built under the Government of India’s ‘Digital India’ Mission. During a speech commemorating India’s 74th Independence Day in 2020, he had announced a project to connect the Lakshadweep Islands with a submerged optical fiber connection in 1,000 days.

The project was carried out by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a telecommunications corporation owned by the Government of India, with funding from the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) of the Department of Telecommunications.

BSNL awarded this project to NEC India in September 2021, and it was completed ahead of schedule in June 2023. The system spans around 1,870 kilometers and has an initial capacity of 2×100 Gbps, which may be expanded up to 1,600 Gbps per fiber pair.

The system connects Kochi, India’s major port city, to 11 Lakshadweep islands: Agatti, Androth, Amini, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kavaratti, Kiltan, Kalpeni, and Minicoy. The cable, which provides enough capacity for voice and data connectivity, helps to promote e-governance projects, new businesses, and e-commerce facilities. It is aligned with the Digital India Mission and promotes knowledge sharing in educational institutions while also providing citizens with electronic access to government services.

Aalok Kumar, Corporate Officer and Senior Vice President, Head of the Global Smart City Business at NEC Corporation, and President and CEO of NEC Corporation India, stated, “The successful completion of the KLI cable project, our second venture with BSNL, marks a watershed moment in NEC’s collaboration with the Government of India to build a connected nation.

This project not only puts Lakshadweep on the digital map, but it also accelerates the region’s socioeconomic development. With a forward-thinking data capacity and a commitment on connecting people internationally, we’re happy to offer full internet access for the islands, aligning with the Digital India Mission and creating opportunities in e-governance and digital empowerment throughout the area.”

NEC Managing Director Atsushi Kuwahara said NEC, which completed an optical submarine cable system between Chennai and the A&N Islands in December 2020, is thrilled to take part in a major initiative aimed at providing prospects for the Lakshadweep Islands.

The KLI project illustrates NEC’s commitment to connecting the unconnected and empowering communities with cutting-edge technology. For over 60 years, NEC has been a global leader in submarine cable systems, manufacturing submarine cables, submarine repeaters, and terminal station equipment, as well as coordinating marine surveys and route design, equipment installation, cable laying, training, and delivery testing.

Until recently, NEC had purchased undersea cable-laying ships for each project individually. To meet the growing demand for new underwater cables caused by the recent expansion of 5G and an increase in data traffic between data centers in various nations, NEC has chartered a long-term dedicated cable-laying ship for the first time.

As a result, to fulfill client demand, NEC will deliver submarine cable systems more swiftly and flexibly than ever before.

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