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What is Submarine communications cable?

What is Submarine communications cable?


Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Island Submarine Cable System, which will provide better connectivity to the archipelago.

  • The foundation stone for the project was laid by PM Modi in December 2018 at Port Blair.

Key points:

  • About 2,300 km of submarine optical fibre cable (OFC) has been laid at a cost of about Rs 1,224 crore to provide better connectivity in the UT.
  • The project envisages better connectivity from Chennai to Port Blair and seven other Islands — Swaraj Deep (Havelock), Long Island, Rangat, Hutbay (Little Andaman), Kamorta, Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay (Great Nicobar).
  • The project is funded by the government through the Universal Service Obligation Fund under the ministry of communications.

 Who will benefit?

  1. Better connectivity in the region will facilitate the delivery of e-governance services such as telemedicine and tele-education.
  2. Small enterprises will benefit from opportunities in e-commerce, while educational institutions will utilise the enhanced availability of bandwidth for e-learning and knowledge sharing.
  3. Business Process Outsourcing services and other medium and large enterprises too also benefit from better connectivity.
  4. After the launch of the project by PM Modi, the internet bills in Andaman and Nicobar will also come down substantially.

 What is Submarine Communications cable?

It is a cable laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean and sea.

  • The optical fiberelements are typically individually coated with plastic layers and contained in a protective tube suitable for the environment where the cable will be deployed.

Types of Submarine fiber cables:

There are two types of Submarine fibre cables: unrepeatered and repeatered.

  • Unrepeatered cables are preferred in short cable routes because it does not require repeaters, lowering costs; however, their maximum transmission distance is limited.

Importance of submarine cables:

  • Currently 99 per cent of the data traffic that is crossing oceans is carried by undersea cables.
  • The reliability of submarine cables is high, especially when multiple paths are available in the event of a cable break.
  • The total carrying capacity of submarine cables is in the terabits per second, while satellites typically offer only 1,000 megabits per second and display higher latency.


A typical multi-terabit, transoceanic submarine cable system costs several hundred million dollars to construct.



Prelims Link:

  1. About optical fibers.
  2. Types of Submarine fiber cables.
  3. About the recently launched Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Island Submarine Cable System.
  4. Key features of the Universal Service Obligation Fund.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Island Submarine Cable System.

Sources: pib.