The Indian government has approved creation of National Optical Fibre Network [NOFN] for providing broadband connectivity to all Panchayats. The plan is to extend the existing optical fibre network initially upto Panchayats by utilizing the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) and creating an institutional mechanism for management and operation of the UOFN for ensuring non discriminatory access to all service providers.
As per the approval of the Cabinet, the action for establishing and operationalizing Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has been initiated for management and operation of the NOFN and ensuring non-discriminatory access to all service providers. The network proposed, under the scheme, is to be completed in two years’ time. The cost of initial phase of the NOFN scheme is likely to be in the region of Rs. 20,000 crores.
India has close to 12 million broadband subscribers and we certainly hope that such initiatives actually see the light of the day (in fact, this should have been done, before launching the Akash tablet).