The first hi-speed rural broadband network of India will be commissioned in Idukki district, a high range in Kerala, on Monday. Minister for Communications & IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad will commission India’s the network today at a function in Thiruvananthapuram.
The network, which is under Digital India Programme, would open up new avenues for small access service providers including mobile operators, cable TV Operators.
Aruna Sundararajan, Chairperson and Managing Director of Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), said, the new network would be a neutral non-discriminatory network, which would lead to the unbundling of infrastructure and services.
According to an official release, the commissioning of the network would help Idukki to become the first district in the country to have its entire gram panchayats connected through National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN).
NOFN is the largest rural connectivity project of its kind in the world. The project aims to connect each of the 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats of India through broadband optical fibre network. While its completion, NOFN is likely to facilitate broadband connectivity to over 600 million rural citizens of the country.
Meanwhile, NOFN is envisaged as a non-discriminatory telecom infrastructure that helps to bridge the gap in rural telecom access. It will also enable each of the 2.5 lakh GPs to have 100 Mbps of bandwidth.
NOFN is expected to facilitate the delivery of various e-Services and applications including e-health, e-education, e-governance and e-commerce in the future.
However, as per the statement, NOFN shall be extended to cover 50,000 gram panchayats in the first phase and the remaining 2 lakh is expected to be covered in a phased manner by 2016.
The event marks a key milestone in ushering in a new era of Digital India. Digital India is a flagship programme of the Central Government which aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.