India eyes nationwide fiber network

India eyes nationwide fiber network

Summary: Country's Telecom Commission proposes to extend fiber optic network to reach rural village areas in hope of boosting economy and uptake of e-government services, says minister.

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India has plans to extend its fiber optic network to reach the village level to connect and push e-services to rural areas, according to a government official.

In a Friday statement, Shri Kapil Sibal, India's minister of communication and information technology said the Telecom Commission has proposed to create the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) which will extend the country's existing fiber optic network from the district level to the village level, or gram panchayat level.

The initial part of the project which is estimated to cost 200 billion Indian rupee (US$4.5 billion) will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), said Sibal. He added that private sector will likely contribute similar investment to complement the infrastructure and to provide services to users.

Sibal hoped that the extension of connection will boost economic benefits such as provide additional employment, e-education, e-health, e-agriculture and other e-services as well as reduce migration of rural population to urban areas.

Aside from economic benefits, Sibal noted that the nationwide fiber optic network will help drive government initiatives such as e-health, e-banking, e-education and so on.

"The proposed NOFN will enable effective and faster implementation of various mission mode e-governance projects amounting to approx 500 billion Indian rupee (US$11.25 billion) initiated by Department of Information Technology as well as delivery of a whole range of electronic services in the above areas by the private sector to citizen in rural areas," said Sibel.

Aside from supporting fixed-line connection, the Indian government announced in April its pledge to support mobile broadband. The country aims to reach 160 million broadband connections by 2014.

According to an ABI Research report last year, India is expected to drive the region's mobile Internet traffic by 2015.

Topics: Networking, Hardware, Mobility

Liau Yun Qing

About Liau Yun Qing

The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate masquerading as a group-buying addict.

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  • My country (Bangladesh) needs closer to something like this, one of the many reasons people still here prefer piracy is we still don't have the proper Internet infrastructure and what we have is not enough, more over a good quality connection is very expensive compared to the neighboring countries. Too many ISP with very few ideas and interest to provide its users with quality service, they are just happy to get the monthly bill and not what the users are getting.
    Kronos-7a5cf