The Indian government has rolled out fibre-optic links to 5,000 villages as part of its National Optical Fibre Network Project (NOFN), which aims to connect all 250,000 gram panchayats (villages or small towns) with speeds of at least 100Mbps by the end of 2016, the Economic Times reports, citing the government’s Economic Survey for 2014-2015. Under the programme, the government aims to connect 50,000 gram panchayats by 31 March 2015, and 100,000 by 31 March 2016.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh has become the first state to choose to handle its NOFN deployments on its own, with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) due to reimburse the local government for the cost of the rollout. The state plans to offer broadband services with speeds of 10Mbps-15Mbps to the roughly twelve million households to be covered under its programme for INR150 (USD2.4) per month. The project is expected to cost a total of INR49.13 billion – INR19.4 billion of which will be provided by the DoT – and take five years to be completed. Andhra Pradesh will create two new entities for the programme, the Andhra Pradesh Fibre Corporation and the Digital Andhra Pradesh Corporation. The first of these will be 100% state-owned and will own and manage the network whilst the latter will be a public-private-partnership that will create an ‘ecosystem for broadband adoption.’