Govt plans to connect 5L villages with Internet by 2013
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Last Updated: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 14:03
New Delhi: The Government is expected to connect five lakh villages with the internet broadband services under the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) in next two years.

"We have setup a high powered committee, Sam Pitroda is heading the committee, co-chaired by Nandan Nilekani. I am told by Sam Pitroda that he will try and implement the policy within next two years (by 2013)," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said today.

Government earlier had proposed creating a NOFN for providing broadband connectivity to the rural areas initially upto the panchayats.

Last year, telecom regulator Trai had floated a consultation paper suggesting that optical fibre should be laid to connect 3.75 lakh villages having a population of 500 or more.

The project could be funded by the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for non-skilled work and from the Universal Services Obligation Fund for material and equipment.

On allowing state-run BSNL the right to execute the National Broadband Plan (NBP), Sibal said:"These are policy issues and it is not that the private sector is excluded from this. It is for the private sector to use this network. It is ultimately private sector that will ride on this network".

The minister was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Fibre to Home (FTTH) conference.

The optical fibre network would help various service providers and users get broadband through a variety of wired and wireless solutions. Till now, the broadband facility has been limited to metros and major cities.

There were nine million broadband subscribers at the end of April, 2010, of which a mere five per cent were in rural areas. The government had set a target of 20 million broadband subscribers by 2010 as part of the Broadband Policy 2004.


First Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 14:03

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