Kerala’s hilly district Idukki will be declared on Monday as India’s first district with high-speed rural broadband network. Minister for Communications and IT Ravi Shanker Prasad will inaugurate the broadband internet facility on Monday.
The high-speed internet connectivity is rolled out across the agrarian district as part of the national optical fibre network, the rural connectivity project. Under the NOFN, Kerala wants to become the first state to have broadband internet connection in all districts by the end of March, this year.
All the village panchayats in the high range district would have the broadband connectivity. The state’s only tribal village panchayat, Idamalakkudi, would also come under the broadband facility. The project would offer internet at a bandwidth of 100Mpbs.
Official sources said the establishment of NOFN is expected to 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 and IT outsourcing as well as services such as e-banking, e-health and e-education. This will also enable delivery of various services such as local planning, management, monitoring and payments under Government schemes at panchayat level.
NOFN is the largest rural connectivity project of its kind in the world. It seeks to link each of the 2.5 lakh village panchayats in the country 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.