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Govt may increase spend on NOFN programme to Rs 25,000 cr

PTI | Last Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 21:50

New Delhi: The government investment on the National Optical Fibre Network, which aims at bringing connectivity to village level, is likely to go up to Rs 25,000 crore, a senior telecom official said Thursday.

Telecom Secretary M F Farooqui while talking about power of Internet and its use for empowering people said National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) programme is one very important step in this direction.

"Under this programme, we are going to invest more than (Rs) 20,000 crore, probably now it will go up to (Rs) 25,000 crore over period of a couple years and we will cover 2,50,000 panchayats by connectivity of 2 Mbps," Farooqui said while speaking at FICCI's Internet, Mobile and Digital Economy Conference.

Users of broadband network with speed of 2 megabit per second (Mbps) can download a 600 MB file, equivalent to length of bollywood movie, in about 41 minutes.

The government had approved Rs 20,000 crore for the project in October 2011. The project was expected to be rolled out by end of 2012 but now the government expects to finish laying the network in financial year 2014-15.

"The National Policy on Telecom recognises the need to do this rapidly and it actually says that by 2020, we should have broadband connectivity extended to 600 million people," Farooqui said.

Another Department of Telecom official, who did not wished to be named, said that the proposal of additional spend has to be approved by government at various levels and first by inter-ministerial panel, Telecom Commission.

"There has been huge fluctuation in value of rupee. Some of the components that are to be used in NOFN are imported and their prices have changed due depreciation in value of rupee. Also, DoT is working to expand of NOFN which will add to the cost," the official said.

First Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 21:50
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