Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 12, 2015: India's first Hi-Speed Rural Broadband Network (National Optical Fibre Network) has been commissioned in the hilly Idukki district of Kerala state. The central Minister for Communications & IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, did the honours --albeit virtually and over the Internet -- since the formal event was held in the state capital here, with the Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as guest of honour.
NOFN is government's initiative in taking forward the vision of Digital India which aims to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The network is set to link 600 million rural citizens of India across 2.50,000 Gram Panchayats spread over 6600 blocks and 631 districts through Broadband optical fibre network.
Minister 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.
He 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. I am proud to be a part of this new digital journey in India’s history."
NOFN will provide a minimum bandwidth of 100 Mbps to each of the 250,000 GPs 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.
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.