Kerala will be the first state to be fully covered by broadband connectivity under the national optical fibre network (NOFN) project, which aims to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across the nation by December 2016. Minister of Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad will launch NOFN on January 12 in Idukki district of the state, which is completely connected by optic fibre. The entire state will be covered by March.”We are launching NOFN in Idukki district of Kerala on January 12. It is a very important beginning with one district completely covered. Kerala would complete NOFN by March this year, and the state is also one of those where BSNL is in profit,” Prasad said here.The project aims at providing the basic infrastructure for the Digital India programme. NOFN aims to provide high- speed broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats by December 2016 and the estimated cost of the project is around Rs 30,000 crore. The government has set a target of rolling out optical fibre network across 50,000 village panchayat by the end of this financial year, 1 lakh by March 2016 and another 1 lakh by end of 2016. To fast-track the central project, Department of Telecom has also warned of action against those officials who are not taking decisions or delaying it.Sources said the work has been fast-tracked now and most of the logistical issues have been addressed. “Issues like the right of way have been substantially addressed as most of the Chief Ministers are on board regarding the matter,” said a source.Meanwhile, Prasad said that he has written to Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari that a provision should be made for space for telecom ducts while making new highways. The minister had also suggested to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister of N Chandrababu Naidu that while approving building by-laws, every house plan should have provisions for duct like that for water and electricity. These things are going to solve the right of way issues.


Kerala to be first state to be fully covered under national optical fibre network