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Company : Department of Telecommunications Ministry of Communications & IT, Government of India
Monday, January 12, 2015 7:40PM IST (2:10PM GMT)
 
Government of India Commissions India's First Hi-Speed Rural Broadband Network (NOFN) in Idukki, Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

NOFN Project Highlights
 

  • World’s largest rural broadband connectivity project through optical fibre
  • All 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats in India to be connected on optical fibre
  • Minimum 100 Mbps bandwidth at each Gram Panchayat
  • NOFN to be Non discriminatory Access infrastructure for all Service Providers
  • Approx 6 lakh Km new incremental optical fibre cable to be laid
  • Indigenous equipment design and manufacturing under “Make in India”
  • High Capacity Network Management System and Network Operation Centre

Hon’ble Minister for Communications & IT, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, commissioned India's first Hi-Speed Rural Broadband Network (NOFN) in Idukki District, Kerala, under the Digital India Programme at an inaugural function held in Thiruvananthapuram today.
 
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Oommen Chandy was the Guest of Honour at the function which was held in the august presence of Shri P.K. Kunhalikutty, Hon’ble Minister for Industries & IT, Govt. of Kerala, Shri M.K. Muneer, Hon’ble Minister for Panachayats & Social Welfare, Govt. of Kerala, Shri P.J. Joseph, Hon’ble Minister, Irrigation, Govt. of Kerala, Shri V. Muraleedharan, State President BJP, Kerala and Shri Joice George, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Idukki. Shri Rakesh Garg, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications and Smt Aruna Sundararajan, Administrator, USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) & CMD, Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) were also present.
 
Speaking on this momentous occasion, Hon’ble Minister for Communications & IT, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, said, “India today witnesses a new era of digital empowerment. The new government has firmly set its focus on the all round development and inclusive growth of the country. NOFN Project is a giant leap in order to bridge the digital divide in India by linking all Gram Panchayats through the common platform of Optical Fibre Cable. I extend my complete support to this project and I am proud to be a part of this new digital journey in India’s history”.
 
NOFN is a landmark initiative in taking forward the vision of Digital India which aims to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. NOFN is set to link 600 million rural citizens of India across 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats of India spread over 6600 blocks and 631 districts through Broadband optical fibre network.
 
A historic milestone was achieved when Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad received the first mobile phone call ever from the Gram Panchayat of Edamalakuddy in Idukki district.  This tribal Gram Panchayat is 34 kms away from the nearest town and has no road connectivity, electricity or piped water.  Today, this settlement has been connected to the NOFN through VSAT media which has also provided them with voice connectivity.
 
The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri Oommen Chandy, welcomed this initiative, “As the most literate state in India, the people of Kerala look forward to the new economic development opportunities that NOFN has opened for the state.
 
NOFN will provide a minimum bandwidth of 100 Mbps to each of the 2.5 lakh GPs thereby facilitating delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, public internet access, G2C, B2B, P2P, B2C etc., weather, agricultural  and other services to rural India. The project also seeks to achieve a huge employment generation opportunity through operation and maintenance activities, BPO services, rural entrepreneurship etc.
Shri. Rakesh Garg, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Govt. of India, said “India is gearing up for the digital age through the undertaking of the NOFN which will usher in a new era of good governance and inclusive development.
 
NOFN is intended as a Transport network to enforce Digital India through delivery of utilities for Panchayats through:
 
  • Panchayat Management - Gram sabha meetings, village records, updating of citizen databases, effective performance monitoring of Panchayats.
  • Community Participation - Intra-village, Intra-district sharing of practices and resources Communication with Block, and District.
  • Knowledge Dissemination - Sharing of Agricultural practices, productivity techniques, Small enterprises, Vocational learning.
  • Delivery of Citizen Services - Delivery of services including Health, Education and Finance, etc. A single point of Government-to-citizen interaction for Centrally sponsored/Central sector/ State   sponsored schemes and Grievance redressal.
  • Developmental planning - Road, transportation and power connectivity; knowledge connectivity in the form of good educational & training institutions. Provision of drinking water and upgradation of existing health facilities. Market connectivity to enable farmers to get the best prices for their produce.

 
Idukki in Kerala State, a relatively inaccessible and having a large tribal and rural population, is the first district in India for piloting this NOFN project at district level. Currently the district’s 8 Block Offices & 52 Gram Panchayats have been connected with NOFN. (Appendix 1 contains details about Idukki NOFN Implementation and about Kerala NOFN Implementation).

Digital India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India to integrate the government departments and the people of India to ensure effective governance. It also aims at ensuring that the government services are made available to citizens electronically by reducing paperwork. The initiative also includes a plan to connect rural areas under high-speed internet networks. NOFN network is an important step towards realization of this ambitious vision.

Sharing his vision for ‘Digital India’ in his speech at the 68th Indian Independence Day celebrations on August 15, 2014, at Red Fort, New Delhi, Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, said, “When I talk of “Digital India”, I don`t speak of the elite, it is for the poor people. You can imagine what a quality education the children in villages will get, if all the villages of India are connected with Broadband Connectivity and if we are able to give long distance education to the schools in every remote corner of the villages”. He further added, “I say that today it is IT that has the potential to connect each and every citizen of the country and that is why we want to realise the mantra of unity with the help of `Digital India`”.

About NOFN Project

NOFN, which is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), Department of Telecom, Ministry of Communications & IT, Govt. of India, is envisaged to provide non- discriminatory access to bridge the digital divide across rural India. 

The establishment of NOFN will open up new avenues for access service providers like mobile operators, cable TV operators etc. to launch next generation services and spur creation of local employment opportunities encompassing e-commerce and IT outsourcing, as well as e-banking, e-health and e-education” said Smt. Aruna Sundararajan, Administrator, USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) & CMD, Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) when presenting the report on NOFN.
 
The project is being implemented by three central PSUs (CPSUs) namely BSNL, PGCIL and Railtel in the phase first. The Government of India entity, Bharat Broad Band Nigam Limited (BBNL), will centrally manage the project through a high capacity Network Management System being developed by C-DOT. A key feature of the project is that the GPON equipment used in the project has been indigenously designed and developed by C-DOT and manufactured domestically. The monitoring of the progress of the project will be done by Primaware Software.


In the first phase NOFN shall be extended to cover 50,000 GPs, with the balance 2,00,000 GPs expected to be covered in a phased manner by 2016.
 
Appendix 1

Idukki NOFN Implementation

Idukki in Kerala State will be the first District in India for piloting this NOFN project at District Level. Currently the District has a total of 8 Block Offices & 53 Gram Panchayats of which 8 Block Offices & 52* Grama Panchayats have been connected with NOFN. Equipment and Optical fibre cable details are as shown below.
  • Existing Fibre to be used: 803.3Km
  • incremental Duct Length  for Idukki district: 55.7 km
  • Additional OF Fibre: 63.6 Km
  • Equipment details : OLT-11 ,  ONT- 60 ( 52 for GPs & 8 for Blocks)
  • When work started:  30-1-2014
  • Cost of Execution :
1.      Total Estimated cost – Rs. 376 lakhs
2.      Additional Fibre laying including material cost – Rs. 270 lakhs
3.      Cost of existing OF cable ( Material & labour ) – Rs. 3,414 lakhs
  • Strength of teams working:
1.       BSNL - 4 teams for coordination  with contractors of laying OF cables and
2.       UTL - 2 teams for installation of GPON equipments,
3.      OF cable trenching & laying  teams  - 2
 
(* Note: As there is no feasibility for laying optical Fibre Cable  to Edamalakudy GP in Devikulam Block of Idukki District,  it is connected through VSAT.)

Kerala NOFN Implementation

In Kerala, the execution of the project is done by BSNL. BSNL has completed the survey, and once the incremental fibre of about 1000 Km is laid, and the network is in place, the bandwidth to each Gram Panchayat will increase many fold and e-applications can run smoothly. The details of the infrastructure for Kerala State is as follows,
 
  • Existing Fibre to be used: 7716.85 Km
  • Incremental Duct Length (Total)-: 59.190 Km of which 35.954 Km completed
  • Additional Optical Fibre: 1,095.7 Km
  • Equipment required:  OLT-147,  ONT-1129  ( 977 for GPs & 152 for Blocks)
  • Equipment received:  OLT-80,ONT- 705
  • When work started: 30-1-2014
  • Cost of Execution :
1.      Total Estimated cost – Rs. 72 crores
2.      Additional Fibre laying including material cost – Rs. 47.39 crores
3.      Cost of existing OF cable ( Material & labour ) – Rs. 334 crores
4.      Cost of incremental OF cable (Material & Labour) – Rs. 47.39 crores
 
  • Strength of teams working:
1.      BSNL - 14 teams for coordination  with contractors of laying OF cable
2.      UTL  -  11 teams for installation of GPON equipments
3.      OF cable trenching & laying  teams - 54 teams
 
Photo caption:
L-R - V. Muraleedharan, State President BJP, Kerala, M.K. Muneer, Minister for Panchayats & Social Welfare, Kerala, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications & IT, Govt. of India, Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala & V.S. Achuthanandan, Leader of Opposition in Kerala and P.K. Kunhalikutty, Minister for Industries & IT, Govt. of Kerala.

L-R -  Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications & IT, Govt. of India, Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Administrator, USOF & Rakesh Garg, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Govt. of India

 

 
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Multimedia Gallery
L-R - V. Muraleedharan, State President BJP, Kerala, M.K. Muneer, Minister for Panchayats & Social Welfare, Kerala, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications & IT, Govt. of India, Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala & V.S. Achuthanandan, Leader of Opposition in Kerala and P.K. Kunhalikutty, Minister for Industries & IT, Govt. of Kerala.
L-R - Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications & IT, Govt. of India, Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Administrator, USOF & Rakesh Garg, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Govt. of India