National Optical Fiber network to be set up: Sibal

July 22nd, 2011 - 10:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Communications Minister Kapil Sibal Friday said the telecom commission has recommended creating a National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) to provide broadband connectivity to panchayats.

“The objective of the scheme is to extend initially the existing optical fiber network that extends upto districts headquarters upto gram panchayat level by utilising the universal service obligation fund (USOF),” Sibal told reporters here.

“The proposal will be placed before the cabinet for approval,” he added.

The minister said the cost of the initial phase of the NOFN scheme would be around Rs.20,000 crore.

A similar investment is likely to be made by the private sector to complement the NOFN infrastructure while providing services to individual users.

A committee to look into creation and implementation of NOFN was set up by the telecom department April 26 under the co-chairmanship of Sam Pitroda, adviser to the prime minister, and Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India.

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will assume the responsibility for execution of the project after approval of the scheme by the cabinet. The SPV will be finally owned by the government.

Sibal also said that the state-owned BSNL has been entrusted with the task of undertaking the preparatory activity for project execution and establishment of the special purpose vehicle.

The benefits from the scheme are expected through additional employment, e-education, e-health, e-agriculture and reduction in migration of rural population to urban areas.

As per a World Bank study, with every 10 percent increase in broadband penetration, there is an increase in GDP growth by 1.4 percent.

The proposed NOFN will enable effective and faster implementation of various mission mode e-governance projects amounting to approx Rs.50,000 crore initiated by department of IT.

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