Thursday, March 13, 2014

Government spending Rs 1 lakh crore for democratizing information

Sam Pitroda
  • Government is working on project like national optical fibre network (NOFN) that will take broadband connectivity to all panchayat level so that people in village have access to informations, Pitroda said at an ICRIER event.
  • "Government is spending about Rs 100 thousand crore for democratisation of information. 
  • He said that government took measures to increase transparency through e-governance and sharing information openly for public use over internet.
  • Government has earmarked Rs 20,000 crore for NOFN project and expects to connect 1 lakh gram panchayats by September and rest of 1.5 lakh panchayats by September 2015.
  • Besides resolving connectivity issues, platforms like e-governance and UIDAI-linked services are being developed, he added.
  • Pitroda said that transparency will increase once people have means to connect and access information.
  • He also called for active support from government departments to push local manufacturing for enhancing job opportunity in the country.
  • Pitroda said Indians in silicon valley have understanding of latest technology and there is need to connect with them to develop India as technology and manufacturing hub.

What is National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) project?

  • The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) is a project to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh (200,000) Gram panchayats of India at a cost of Rs.20, 000 crore ($4 billion).
  • The project provides internet access using existing optical fiber and extending it to the Gram panchayats. 
  • The project was intended to enable the government of India to provide e-services and e-applications nationally.
  • A special purpose vehicle Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) was created as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Companies Act of 1956 for the execution of the project. 
  • The project will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and was estimated to be completed in 2 years.
  • The implementation framework, budget, technology architecture and other issues related to NOFN were worked out by a high level committee constituted by the Department of Telecom (DoT) under the chairmanship of an adviser to the Prime Minister and Chairman UIDAI.
  • The Special-Purpose Vehicle Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) was incorporated to execute the project, implemented by three prominent telecom PSUs. 
  • To grant right of way, a draft tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) among the government of India, the SPV and the State governments of India was sent to the state governments and Union Territories for their concurrence.
  • The National Informatics Centre (NIC) was assigned a project by DOT/USOF for geographic information system (GIS) mapping of the existing OFC network of the various telecom operators such BSNL, Rail Tel, Power Grid, etc.
  • National Optic Fibre Network uses Gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology indigenously developed by Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT).
  • A passive optical network (PON) brings fiber cabling and signals to the home using a point-to-multipoint scheme that enables a single optical fiber to serve multiple premises. Encryption maintains data security in this shared environment. 
  • The architecture uses passive (unpowered) optical splitters, reducing the cost of equipment compared to point-to-point architectures.
  • The GPON standard differs from other passive optical network standards in that it achieves higher bandwidth and higher efficiency using larger, variable-length packets. 
  • GPON offers efficient packaging of user traffic, with frame segmentation allowing higher quality of service (QoS) for delay-sensitive voice and video communications traffic.

Government policy for driving National Broadband-
The National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012 states the following:
  • Affordable and reliable broadband on demand by 2015.
  • Target of 175 Million Connections by 2017.
  • Target of 600 Million Connection by 2020 at minimum 2 mbps speed and higher speed upto 100 mbps on demand.
  • Recognize Telecom and BB connectivity as a basic necessity like education and health and work towards, “Right to Broadband”.
  • Synergy between existing on-going and future Government programs viz e-Gov, e- Panchayat, MGNREGA, NKN, Aakash, etc. and Broadband roll-out and sharing of infrastructure.

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