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‘BharatNet’ across states to realise Digital India dream: Prasad

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The ambitious National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) project is set to undergo a major revamp post a high-level meeting of all the IT Secretaries and IT ministers called by Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

As the government is planning to rope in the states for faster execution of NOFN, a meeting of the state IT secretaries and IT ministers had been called in Delhi. The deliberations at the meeting is likely to show the way forward for the involvement of states.

“We must commit to make India a big broadband country. I appeal all states to work together to realise this goal and make the vision of Digital India a reality,” Prasad said.

“The need of the hour is to encourage greater broadband culture in India. Andhra Pradesh has already shown how it can be achieved,” the minister added.

Emphasising on an increased cooperation between the Centre and state governments, he said, “Let us all go back from here with the spirit of united India for heralding the broadband revolution.”

Ram Sevak Sharma, Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), echoed similar view. “NOFN can’t succeed without the help of state governments. We have to work together,” he said.

“We must ensure digital connectivity across the country to materialise the Digital India mission,” he said.

On May 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reviewed the NOFN project. He also discussed a report submitted by former IT Secretary J Satyanarayana-led committee to fast-track the project.

The committee had recommended  renaming the project as BharatNet. It has also recommended involvement of private sector,  increased role of state governments, use of satellites and radiowaves for providing connectivity to certain areas, among others.

In order to ensure equity in access and to accelerate the socio-economic growth in the rural areas, the Government has planned to connect all 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats in the country with minimum 100 Mbps bandwidth under the National Optic Fibre Network project.

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