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India`s National Optic Fibre Network To Connect 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats
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India`s National Optic Fibre Network To Connect 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats  
Not only is it an ambitious project but it will also turn out to be one of the most expensive projects in the history of India that will cost almost Rs 21,000 crore.    
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Monday, February 18, 2013 The government is planning an ambitious project of connecting 2,50,000 gram panchayats in India with a fibre optic technology. Not only is it an ambitious project but it will also turn out to be one of the most expensive projects in the history of India that will cost almost Rs 21,000 crore. As it is being planned, the project needs project management, cutting-edge technology, not to forget the close coordination required between several government agencies.

BBNL, electronics, National Optic Fibre Network, 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats, NOFN, electronics, fibre optics

According to an Economic Times news, the government is planning to initiate the project in the next two months with a set of big players with substantial investment plans observing the progress closely. The reason for the close monitoring is because The National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) is being considered as a test case for the government's ability to deliver.

The tenders have been invited for the NOFN and the name of the final bidders will be out in the next two months. At present, the project is being seen as a largely domestic exercise with India-based telecom research agency, Centre for the Development of Telematics (C-DoT) creating related technologies needed for NOFN. They have also inked technology transfer pacts with six Indian vendors -- ITIBSE 3.26 per cent, Tejas Networks, VMC, Sai Systems, United Telecoms and SM Creative -- who will manufacture the gear if they win the contracts, adds the report.

A new entity called Bharat Broadband Network (BBNL) is overlooking the project, which will be executed by BSNL and MTNLBSE 2.93 per cent. With so many villages to be covered, the eco-system of this project will be humongous. A government official told ET, "Besides those involved in laying optical fibres, players ranging from those involved in testing, civil work, logistics, local vendors, antenna-suppliers and technicians are going to benefit from the project."

Out of the Rs 21,000 crore being speculated for the project that is expected to span two years, around 70 per cent of the total cost would be spent on domestic players.

The NOFN project involves bringing optical fibre connectivity to villages and extending broadband to the required locations using wireless technologies. A technology called GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network Technology) and broadband wireless terminals are needed for this. Once the fibre connectivity is brought to villages, the broadband connection is distributed to several points through a service provider. C-DoT has been using Freescale Semiconductor devices for delivering broadband content to rural areas, Sai Jayram, who is heading the broadband and 4G projects at C-DoT, had told ET during India Telecom Show 2012.

Kalpana Sharma, EFYTIMES News Network

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