The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is hoping to connect about 20000 villages to the Internet by March 2015, through the optic fiber network that’s being set up as part of the Prime Minister’s Digital India program. The Southern state of Kerala will be the first one to welcome broadband connectivity, followed by Karnataka and Seemandhra.
Communications and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, will formally inaugurate the project in Kerala this Monday. The government had set the deadline for having the National Optic Fiber Network (NOFN) up and running all across India by December 2016. The initial goal was to have 50000 villages with access to the web by the end of March.
But the DoT seems to have settled for a more realistic target now, though Prasad told The Economic Times and other reporters that the work is progressing quickly in the Western region covering Maharashtra and Gujarat. Rahul Khullar, head of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), was previously seen talking about the overly ambitious plans being made by the government.
Khullar warned that the project would not succeed if building the physical infrastructure is the only item on the priority list. 246000km of optical fiber cable is needed to be laid out as part of the NOFN initiative. Back in September 2014, BSNL claimed to be facing issues with local authorities who were making it difficult for the company to work on this job.
The DoT expects to connect more than 2.5-lakh villages to the Internet by March 2016. Apart from readying to hook up almost 20000 rural pockets across India to the web, the telecom department is apparently going to ask the chief ministers of states to ensure that all homes have optic fiber as standard, just like electricity, drainage systems and water supply.