The Andaman & Nicobar islands now have a 400Gbps undersea cable link, the Chennai-Andaman Nicobar Island (CANI) system, that massively increases the internet bandwidth available to the archipelago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Monday. The 2,300 kilometers of cable were laid between Chennai and Port Blair, and then between Port Blair and Havelock, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Great Nicobar, Long Island, and Rangat, according to a press release by the government.

So far, Andaman & Nicobar has only had 3.2Gbps of bandwidth through a satellite uplink, slim pickings for its 3.8 lakh people. This undersea fiber optic link, long delayed, should also reduce latency, which can be extremely high in satellite connectivity. But this doesn’t mean that people will immediately start getting high speeds — last mile connectivity would have to reach as many people as possible as well, and mobile and fixed line connections have so far been built with backhaul so limited that it’s unclear that they will be able to immediately serve all this new bandwidth.

The CANI system seems to have gone live a few weeks ago, with just the announcement coming today. Speed tests (1, 2) shared by fixed line broadband users in Andaman & Nicobar over July seem to show download speeds of around 5–12Mbps, which albeit modest are a huge improvement over the sub-1Mbps speeds that users usually end up getting.

In January 2019, Airtel launched 4G services in Port Blair, and Jio was reported to have started laying cable two years ago, but doesn’t seem to have launched there yet.

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