Adding a new chapter to the Digital India programme, Idukki in Kerala became the first rural district in the country to get hooked up to an optical fibre broadband network on January 12.
Union Minister for Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the launch of the high-speed broadband for the entire Idukki district of Kerala.
With the commissioning of the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), all the eight blocks of the district as well as 52 gram panchayats now have 100 Mbps broadband connectivity, which makes it faster than the average internet speed in Singapore.
Idukki is just the first milestone in the Rs 20,000 crore NOFN project, which aims to connect 250,000 gram panchayats, covering a rural population of about 600 million, by the end of 2016.
Unlike most fibre optic broadband connections, which are point-to-point, the NOFN uses a point-to-multipoint system. That is, multiple users can access its 100 Mbps bandwidth from the gram panchayat. The access is also ‘non-discriminatory’, which means any telecom or cable operator or ISP can use it to deliver services which can cover the gamut from digital health and education to ecommerce and electronic banking. This is on top of its primary purpose to provide e-governance.