About 12,909 gram panchayats, 46,000 government offices, educational institutions and hospitals are slated to receive free wifi over the next three years through the Optic Fibre Grid being set up in Andhra Pradesh.
Information Technology advisor to AP Government, J Satyanarayana said that the project will cost Rs 4,660 crores of which the Centre will provide Rs 3,840 crores as part of the National Optic Fibre Network, and the state government will allot Rs 820 crores. While the work on the optic fibre grid will officially start on October 22 on Dasara, some 55,000 kms of optic fibre cable has been prepared using Geographical Information System (GIS).
“Our aim is to provide free wifi connectivity to all villages, educational institutions, hospitals along with 46,000 government institutions,” Satyanarayana said. At least 1.20 crore households in AP will also be provided 15 to 20 Mbps internet connections for under Rs 200 per connection per month by the end of 2018, according to IT Minister P Raghunath Reddy.
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The grid will have two main rings covering 2,491 kms across the 13 districts in the state. The project envisages connecting to all gram panchayats from mandal headquarters which are already connected through the BSNL network. Horizontal connectivity from gram panchayats to schools and other educational institutions, primary health centres and government offices will be given through wifi.
The government has already issued right of way orders and a pilot project is going on in Parwada Mandal of Vizag district where villages under 17 gram panchayats are being linked with wifi.
The Power Grid Corporation Ltd is the executing agency while Bharat Broadband Network Limited, the special purpose vehicle created by Government of India, will establish, manage and operate the grid under the National Optical Fibre Network. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu asked collectors to monitor the progress of work in their respective districts.
The CM set a deadline of three years for the completion of grid in the state after it is launched this Dasara, adding that the fibre grid must be put to full utilization in sectors like education, medicine, e-governance, agriculture, rural development, e-commerce.
The fibre optic grid is one of the five grids being established by the AP Government; the four others are Water Grid, Gas Grid, Power Grid, and Road Grid.
Officials said that the internet connectivity in every nook and corner of the state will help in improving citizen services, improve digital literacy and skill development, and help in good governance besides enable IT Enabled Services to set up BPOs or call centres in rural areas.