Hon’ble Minister for Communications & IT Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad to Commission India's First Hi-Speed Rural Broadband Network in Kerala under the Digital India Programme at a function to be held in Thiruvananthapuram at 12th January, 2015.
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.
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 Gram Panchayats 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.
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 Gram Panchayats 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. On its completion, NOFN is expected to facilitate Broadband connectivity to over 600 million rural citizens of the country.
In the first phase NOFN shall be extended to cover 50,000 Gram Panchayats, with the balance 2,00,000 Gram Panchayats 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.
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.