President Mohamed Nasheed inaugurated the cable laying of the Dhiraagu’s new fibre-optic submarine cable network in Haa Dhaalu Kulhudhufushi on Tuesday.
Dhiraagu described the US$21.7 million mega project signed with Japanese communications group NEC as the “back bone” of Dhiraagu’s High-speed Network Rollout Program, aimed at expanding broadband service across the country.
NEC will be using its existing experience of working on the country’s cable system to lay 1253 kilometres of fibre optic submarine cable beneath the sea from the north to south, connecting the whole country.
According to Dhiraagu, the cable network will encompass eight strategic locations including Kulhudhufushi (starting point), Baa atoll Eydhafushi, Hulhumale’, Alif Dhaal atoll Dhangethi, Laamu atoll Gan, Gaaf Dhaal atoll Gahdhoo, Seenu atoll Hithadhoo and Fuvahmulah (ending point). Cable landing stations have been built.
“We are expecting to finish the cable laying process by the end of this month. Then we will continue testing the cable, connectivity and monitoring the traffic. We are hoping to complete the project by the second quarter of next year,” Dhiraagu’s Manager of Marketing Communications and Public Relations, Mohamed Mirshan Hassan, told Minivan News on Wednesday.
He highlighted that the project was a significant part of the Dhiraagu High-speed Network Rollout Program to expand broadband services, under which the company plans to enhance the microwave network, 3G service, wireless broadband services and upgrade the internet core network.
Dhiraagu plans to invest a total of about US$70 million on the project over the next five years.
According to Mirshan, the implementation of the project will mark a “new milestone” for the nation’s telecommunications.
“High-speed broadband internet service will facilitate services such as e-health, telemedicine, e-government and other online services in the country, which would bring immense socio-economic benefits,” said Mirshan. “Communication and connectivity is a prerequisite for the development of a nation,” he added.
He noted that online businesses and the tourism sector would benefit immensely from the project, as their online operations such as ticketing, bookings and payments would be become easier with the high speed network.
“The disparity in the services offered to remote islands will also be significantly reduced, allowing them to enjoy the same service packages currently offered in the capital Male’,” Mirshan added.
Speaking at the inauguration event on Tuesday, President Nasheed said that the exchange of information was of extreme importance to national development.
The “slow speed of broadband internet in the country prevents full accessibility to telecommunications across the Maldives”, and often led to system failures, President said.
However, he believes Dhiraagu’s submarine cable project will bring significant improvements to the nation telecommunications, by “making the conveyance of information easier, better and speedier in the future”.