IT Taskforce
Basic Background Report



The objective of this National Mission is to establish a very high bandwidth All India National data network and enrich it with educational, healthcare and other knowledge oriented multimedia applications for the technological and economic growth of the nation. Named Sankhya Vahini, this network will be primarily a data network forming the National Backbone, and will initially connect at least 10 metropolitan centers and over 100 universities, institutions of higher learning and research centers. As the speed of the network will be more than 1000-10,000 times the speed currently available in the country, it will not only be able to meet the research, teaching and learning requirements of educational institutions, but also the high bandwidth data communication needs of other organizations in the commercial, manufacturing and financial sectors. This is especially opportune as India is fast emerging as a major global player in computer software. To continue growth in this area of Information Technology, the country needs to equip itself with the latest communications strategies and make available to the nation the high data rates and quality of service guarantees. More than meeting the immediate and fast growing requirements of the country, Sankhya Vahini will also provide the testbed for developing and proving multi-giga bit technologies that will soon become the norm throughout the world in the next decade. The network will be set up in phases with the first two phases consisting of the following:

1. Create a National Internet Backbone by freeing a few fibers exclusively for this program from the existing Department of Telecommunications (DoT) network to support a bandwidth in the range of 2.5 GBPS to 10 GBPS. The proposed bandwidths dedicated exclusively for data would place India on par with the US and other advanced technological nations in the world.

2.    Set up a series of Urban Data Networks (UrbanLinks) linked to the National Backbone. This would be implemented by freeing a few existing fibers for this network, and by laying additional fibers with enhanced bandwidth capability. These networks will provide scalable high speed connection points and would support access to a wide range of end-users.

The National Backbone will reach major urban centers and towns and be available to schools, universities and also to commercial establishments such as financial institutions, industrial houses and software companies. It would then become possible to access educational, training and digital libraries providing content that are available from Carnegie Mellon and other universities in the US, and also from outstanding educational and research institutions in India. An easy, guaranteed and affordable access to the network would accelerate the development of applications for distance learning, job-oriented training, upgrading and re-orientation of skills, healthcare, training of educators, and numerous other novel applications.

Partnerships & Structure

IUNet Inc. was set up by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), a leading educational institution based in Pittsburgh, USA, with a charter to design, develop and manage high technology Internet Backbone by setting up a high-speed data network internationally. This Internet Backbone is intended to primarily provide educational services internationally. The program will also access educational content from other leading US and global scientific institutions, and make them available for Internet users anytime, anywhere in the world.

IUNet Inc. with partnership from US technology corporations (leading technology providers) will set up a venture in India called IUNet (India). IUNet (India) will be set up in partnership with Department of Telecommunications and its family of corporations, and with leading Indian educational institutions. The list of educational institutions would include Indian Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and all the six Indian Institutes of Technology. The participation from the educational institutions is essential to ensure definitive, substantial and continuing commitment from Indian educational institutions to the development, evolution and use of advanced networking facilities. They are also needed to develop educational training and research content.

The design and implementation for creating the National Backbone and the setting up the UrbanLinks will be coordinated jointly by IUNet (India), DoT and key technology providers. This will require lighting of existing dark fibers, laying new bundles of advanced fibers, enhancing the capacity of existing fibers to larger bandwidths, multiplexing and aggregation to free a few fibers exclusively for the Backbone. IUNet (India) will also work with educational institutions in India and the US to create and make available the necessary educational and training content to the network. IUNet (India) will create the necessary infrastructure to manage the network.

To develop the Technical and Business Plans, it is suggested that DoT and Indian educational institutions nominate two key individuals each to work with IUNet Inc. Where necessary, IUNet Inc. will retain professional advisory firms to assist in the design and execution of the Business Plan.

Current Promoters

The promoters of IUNet (India) will include IUNet Inc., DoT and its family of corporations, eight major Indian educational institutions and other organizations as required.

Summary of Business Proposition

1. IUNet Mission: Sankhya Vahini

IUNet (India)’s mission will be to establish, manage and sustain a state-of-the art National Internet Backbone, viz., Sankhya Vahini. IUNet will interconnect various users including universities, schools, hospitals, businesses, and manufacturing and financial institutions of the nation and will provide for their educational, training, healthcare, and other novel application needs requiring high bandwidth.

2. The Network

While details of the Business Plan and network design are still being developed, it is estimated that the program will build a network topology of approximately 16,000 kilometers with 8 to 10 Nodes located at major cities and 25 high bandwidth Points of Presence (POPs), extendable to 100. The bandwidth of Sankhya Vahini will be in multi gigabits and continuously upgraded to stay at the cutting edge of technology.

3. Customers

Customers of IUNet (India) would include educational institutions, research organizations, private and public business establishments and financial institutions needing high bandwidth connectivity. In the future, users may possibly include Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who provide services to individual and commercial customers of multimedia, educational and training content.

4. Project Cost

While the cost of the project will vary based on the analysis of the existing network and the types of technology components required, along with detailed calculation of the operating costs involved, it is estimated that the capital expenditure will be as follows:

Creating National Backbone $50 million

Development of UrbanLinks $100 million

5. Project Time-frame

The IT Task Force constituted by Government of India in its meeting on September 5, 1998 recommended the implementation of the program within nine months converting this program as a National Mission. Speedy implementation of this program will depend on the immediate availability of a few members from DOT and educational institutions to work with IUNet Inc. for preparing the Technical and Business Plans. These Plans will have to be first approved by the promoters of IUNet (India) before the company IUNet (India) could be formed.

In the first phase of the implementation of Sankhya Vahini project, it is proposed to connect the five cities of New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad through STM-16 optical fibre.

In the present DOT Network, spare fibres are not available on most of the routes. Due to non- availability of spare fibre, some portion of IUNet is proposed on new routes like New Delhi-Alwar-Dausa-Jaipur, Mumbai-Pune New cable. However these cable routes are under execution at present and likely to be ready by 1999. Pune to Bangalore portion is proposed via Kolhapur-Belgaum-Hubli. Fibre is available on this route except on Kolhapur Belgaum section. On all other routes also spare fibres are not available. On these routes, 565 Mbps and/or 140 Mbps systems are working for carrying long haul DOT traffic.

It is proposed that Sankhya Vahini, India Ltd. will provide STM-16 equipment for upgradation of existing 565 Mbps and one of the 140 Mbps systems so that one pair of fibres can be spared for Sankhya Vahini Project. The cost of STM-16 equipment will be around Rs.33 crores. The equipment required is as follows:

        ADM                          24

        REGENERATORS 191

It is proposed that DOT will spare one pair of G.652 fibres on which WDM based STM-16 networks will be set up for carrying Sankhya Vahini traffic. The DOT has existing repeaters at intervals of 40-50 Kms wherever feasible it is planned to go up to 65 kms of repeaters spacing using the existing infrastructure.

In addition to the above 5 places already mentioned wherever ADM exists a POP can also be opened in the first phase itself. (Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Pune, Indore, Vijayawada, Agra, Jaipur and Bhopal).

For extending the links from the DOT multiplexing room to the University Campus, cable and equipment will be required. Cable will have to be laid. The equipment and cable requirement for these places will also have to be provided by IUNet, Inc. Details about these routes have been called for and will be furnished soon.

In addition it is proposed to have a link between Bangalore and Ernakulam for providing international connectivity to the network via submarine cable as an alternate/addition to Mumbai (which will also have connectivity via submarine cable). Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune will also have international connectivity via satellite.

For the Bangalore-Ernakulam route, fibre will also have to be spared and STM-16 equipment will have to be provided by Sankhya Vahini, India Ltd.

In the second phase, it is desired to bring the following stations under the Sankhya Vahini project -- Calcutta, Kharagpur, Nagpur, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Ludhiana, Kanpur, Varanasi, Rajkot, Trivandrum, Vizag, Cochin, Allahabad. However, in this document no engineering has been attempted for these stations.

Cost of DOT Infrastructure:

Total route kms. covered in the first phase will be about 10,000 km.

The total cost of DOT infrastructure for one pair of fibre shall be separately worked out in consultation with financial experts of DOT. It is assumed that space for installation of equipment is available.

The cost of the equipment to be provided by Sankhya Vahini, India Ltd. to DOT for sparing the dark fibres is proposed to be adjusted against the cost of the dark fibres to be provided by DOT.

Time / Opportunity Costs:

Since DOT already has this massive infrastructure of 10,000 kms. Of optical fibre cable, which can be deployed very fast, the time cost is the difference between time actually required to lay 10,000 kms. Of cable and the time required to start the project with available infrastructure minus time to free the dark fibres.

It is estimated that after receipt of QA certified equipment, installation will be done within 6 months\rquote time by DOT barring unforeseen eventualities and fibre freed for the project.

Annexure I : Map of the proposed ring structure for Phase I To be included later.


Total route km. of the proposed dark fibre linkup BACKBONE ROUTES: --Distances in kilometers


            RING NO. 1              --              1442 + 1152 = 2594

            RING NO. 2              -                                         2136

            RING NO. 3              --                                  1226

            RING NO. 4              --               1580 + 1925 = 3505

            BG-CBT-ERN          --                                    621

            TOTAL                                                         10082 route km

Cost of infrastructure, which includes 2 fibres out of 12-fibre cable. Add/Drop stations, power plant and other requirements shall be separately worked out.

Cash expenditure in the support activities for providing power and other facilities to the equipment expected to be commissioned on dark fibre.

Power plant.

10 to 20 amps addition current at terminal stations and 4-5 amp at regenerators can be met by existing capacity.

However in 25% of cases it may have to be upgraded.

TML@ Rs.IO LAC and 45 regen @ Rs.4 LAC =40+18O= 2.20 Cr

D LINKS (all except equipment) 2.00 Cr

Cost of installation -- Cost of installation of equipment Power plant and
                                    other local purchase expenditure = 15 Cr

                        TOTAL = 19.2 Cr approx($5M).

Identified O.F. Cable route for sparing Dark Fibre


BG-CHENNAI-VJW-HYD-BG                               4 ADM + 45 REG + SPARE

MBI - INDORE - AHM - MBI                               4 ADM + 35 REG + SPARE

ND-AG-BPL-INDORE-JP-ND                               5 ADM + 37 REG + SPARE

BG-Salem-CBT-Ernakulam STM4 2 TMES + 2 ADM + 15REGN.

Approximate cost of eqpt. required to spare the fibre:

Following STM-16 Equipment shall be required to spare the fibres:

        ADM (include. 2 terminals)          24 x 30     = 7.20

        REGEN.                              191 x 12 = 22.92

        SPARES 10%                                           3.00

        TOTAL                                                          = 33.00 Cr.approx =($8M).