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10 January 2015

Press release: Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad to Commission India's First Hi-Speed Rural Broadband Network in Kerala


  
Department of Telecommunications
Ministry of Communications & IT, Government of India

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad to Commission India's First Hi-Speed Rural Broadband Network in Kerala 

Bangaluru, 10th Jan 2015:
Hon'ble Minister for Communications & IT Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad will be commissioning India's First Hi-Speed Rural Broadband Network in Idukki District, Kerala under the Digital India Programme at a function to be held in Thiruvananthapuram at 12th January, 2015 at 5.30 p.m. 

Hon'ble Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Oommen Chandy will be the Guest of Honour at the function which will be held in the august presence of Shri P.K. Kunhalikutty, Hon'ble Minister for Industries & IT, Govt. of Kerala, Shri M.K. Muneer, Hon'ble Minister for Panachayats & Social Welfare, Govt. of Kerala, Shri P.J. Joseph, Hon'ble Minister, Irrigation, Govt. of Kerala, Shri V.S. Achuthanandan, Hon'ble Leader of Opposition, Kerala, Shri V. Muraleedharan, State President BJP, Kerala and Shri Joice George, Hon'ble Member of Parliament, Idukki. 

The event marks a key milestone in ushering in a new era of Digital India. NOFN is the largest rural connectivity project of its kind in the world. It seeks to link each of the 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats of India through Broadband optical fibre network. On its completion, NOFN is expected to facilitate Broadband connectivity to over 600 million rural citizens of the country. 

NOFN, which is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), Department of Telecom, Ministry of Communications & IT, Govt. of India is envisaged as a non-discriminatory telecom infrastructure, which will bridge the gap in rural telecom access. 

NOFN will enable each of the 2.5 Lakh GPs to have 100 Mbps of bandwidth, thereby facilitating the delivery of various e-Services and applications including e-health, e-education, e-governance and e-commerce in the future. 

In the first phase NOFN shall be extended to cover 50,000 GPs, with the balance 2,00,000 GPs expected to be covered in a phased manner by 2016. The project is being implemented by three central PSUs (CPSUs) namely BSNL, PGCIL and Railtel in the phase first. 

A key feature of the project is that the GPON equipment used in the project has been indigenously designed and developed by C-DOT and manufactured domestically. The project will be centrally managed by BBNL through a high capacity Network Management System being developed by C-DOT. 

With the commissioning of Idukki, the district, which is relatively inaccessible and has a large tribal and rural population, will become the first district in the country to have all its GPs connected through NOFN. It is expected that the establishment of NOFN would open up new avenues for access service providers like mobile operators, cable TV Operators etc. to launch next generation services, and spur creation of local employment opportunities encompassing e-commerce, IT outsourcing etc. as well as services such as e-banking, e-health and e-education for inclusive growth. This will also enable delivery of various services such as local planning, management, monitoring and payments under Government schemes at panchayat level. 

Digital India is a flagship programme of the Central Government which aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The provision of broadband connectivity to every citizen is one of the key objectives of Digital India, and the commissioning of the NOFN network at Idukki is expected to mark a significant step towards realization of this ambitious vision. 

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