The state of Kerala has popularly declared internet as a basic right for the citizens. However, to follow up to this declaration, Kerala state will now work to provide high-speed internet to the residents of the state. On Wednesday, the cabinet has decided to draw an administrative sanction on the Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON). The new sanction pegs the project at Rs 1,548-crore and this massive undertaking by the government will be aimed at providing high-speed internet at a subsidised rate to the 20 lakh citizens. It is worth noting that the new project is going to be a joint venture between KSEB and Kerala State IT Infrastructure Ltd, KFON and it is estimated to be completed by December 2020. As for the tender of the project, it has been awarded to Central PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd. The KFON project will also help the ISPs in the area and the cable TV operators to provide better service with the help of a wider cable network. Under KFON, 30,000 government institutions and educational institutions will also be connected.
KFON To Empower Educational Institutes, Airports and Other Public Places
As per the official statement of the authorities involved, the KFON project will provide enhanced connectivity in the educational sector. Not only this, but the project would also give a push in the IT sector. Other sectors in IT, including machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain and IoT startups, are going to be helped with the implementation of the KFON project. The digitisation of government services would also happen with the implementation of the new KFON project. The airports and coastal ports would also be connected via fibre under KFON. The interesting thing to note is that with the expansion of fibre connectivity across India and private and state-led PSUs deploying massive connectivity, the governments are also crowding to deploy fibre in their states. Out of all the states, Kerala seems to be a step ahead owing to its positive steps in this direction.
Internet Declared Basic Right in Kerala
To recall, Kerala has already declared that internet, being a basic necessity should be accessible by all. However, the poor sections of the society do not have a way to access internet services given their situation with the affordability of such services. At the same time, the United Nations (UN) had remarked that everyone should have access to internet so that they have freedom of expression and opinion. It was back in 2017 when the talks for KFON began in the Kerala parliament. It is also worth noting that Kerala has the highest literacy rate of all Indian states.
On these lines, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac remarked “Internet connection made a basic citizen right. Kerala cabinet gives a final nod for ?1548 crores Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON)Project to provide the internet to every household in the state. For 20 lakh BPL households it will be free. The project to be completed by Dec 2020.” Another interesting thing KFON is that the government does not only plan to provide fibre connectivity throughout the state, but it also wants to install Wi-Fi hotspots across the state as well. Another significant aspect on this front is BharatNet project by BSNL which is a prime driver of the Modi-led government’s Digital India programme. The BharatNet programme also seeks to connect the rural area with high-speed data services.