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Rural India gets Internet rollout boost ahead of elections

Villages, or gram panchayats, will be provided with 3 Internet connections and 1 Wi-Fi hotspot by March 2016. This is the latest push by the government to improve connectivity across the country especially in the hinterlands.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

The Indian government has cleared plans for more Internet infrastructure goodies for rural areas, just months ahead of national elections.

Each of the 250,000 gram panchayats, or villages, will be provided with three Internet connections and one Wi-Fi hotspot by March 2016, according to a report by TNN. This will ride on the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)being pushed out to improve the connectivity throughout the country especially in rural India.

The total cost of the broadband project has been pegged at 37.5 million rupees (US$605.5 million) and will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund, according to a source cited by TNN. Optical fiber connectivity is available in all state capitals, districts and up to the block level, noted the report. The NOFN would connect the blocks to gram panchayats.

At present, optical fibre cable connectivity is available in all state capitals, districts, HQs and up to the Block level. The idea of the NOFN project was to connect the blocks to the gram panchayats by leveraging existing fibers of state-owned utilities such as BSNL, RailTel and Power Grid, it added.



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