Creation of National Optical Fibre Network for broadband connectivity gets Cabinet nod

NEW DELHI: A scheme for creation of a National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) for providing Broadband connectivity to Panchayats at a cost of Rs 200 billion for the initial phase was approved by the Union Cabinet today.

The objective of the scheme is to extend the existing optical fibre network which is available up to district / block HQ’s level to the Gram Panchayat level initially by utilising the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). An amount similar to that being spent by the Government is likely to be made by the private sector complementing the NOFN infrastructure while providing services to individual users.

In economic terms, the benefits from the scheme are expected through additional employment, e-education, e-health, e-agriculture etc. and reduction in migration of rural population to urban areas.
According to a study conducted by the World Bank, with every 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration, there is an increase in GDP growth by 1.4 per cent. NOFN will also facilitate implementation of various e-governance initiatives such as e-health, e-banking, e-education etc. thereby facilitating inclusive growth. It will also provide high bandwidth connectivity for electronic delivery of
services to citizens.

The proposed NOFN will enable effective and faster implementation of various mission mode e-governance projects amounting to approximately Rs 500 billion initiated by the Department of Information Technology as well as delivery of a whole range of electronic services in the above areas by the private sector to citizens in rural areas.

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