750000km of cable will be laid in order to connect all villages across India with broadband Internet, according to Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who presently heads the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology for the government. It’s a massive and time-consuming undertaking which will see the necessary infrastructure being set up over the next three and a half years.
A statement by the Ministry calls it a ‘game changer’ and notes that it’s aimed at the digital empowerment of people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is keen to transform India into an information superpower and the ambitious National Optical Fiber Network project is just one of the plans that have been set in motion. Electronics manufacturing within the nation is also being pushed in a big way.
Prasad was at the first ever MyGov Samvaad program attended by those with winning ideas for the Digital India project, when he made the announcement about the broadband project intended to cover the whole of India. As it stands, March 2017 may be the earliest we can expect to see the initiative go live even though the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been rooting for it to happen by 2016, at the Prime Minister’s insistence.
There’s a lot of focus on hooking up villages to the Internet since mobile connectivity in Indian cities is extremely high as compared to the same for rural areas, as pointed out by a post on The Hindu. MyGov is a website launched to get citizens engaged in the workings of the government. It currently has about 6.5-lakh users participating in discussions and tasks on policy matters involving 18 ministries and departments.
Apart from felicitating a select group of MyGov contributors for their ideas, Prasad also talked about the need to sensitize people to the power of technology and broadband access to those living in villages and remote areas is just the first step.