The telecom ministry has requested the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to extend the deadline for the completion of the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project by nine months, to December 2016. The Narendra Modi government has already approved the Digital India programme comprising various projects worth about Rs 1 lakh crore to transform the country into a digitally-empowered knowledge economy.
The ambitious project worth around Rs 35,000 crore aims to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to 2.50 lakh gram panchayats in India by March 2017. The telecom department has cited delay in the procurement of Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) systems that are used for carrying voice, data and video signals over an optic fibre cable (OFC) network at high speeds as the major reason for seeking a timeline extension for completion of the project.
Apart from GPON systems, department has also sought additional time from PMO due to the short supply of telecom ducts which are used for laying down OFC network. The NOFN project has laid down a framework to enhance the manufacturing capacity of fibre ducts at state-run telecom factories from 2,000 km a month to 6,000 km a month.
In the meantime, the department has called for the involvement of more agencies with matching material, machines and other related resources to expedite the national rollout of NOFN.
Lastly, In order to speed up the process, it has advised the implementing agencies to use public buildings such as schools and post offices wherever the gram panchayats are not available to carry out the work.