Digital India Initiatives

Kerala Fibre Optical Network (KFON)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: KFON, Fibre Optic

Mains level: Internet inclusivity

kerala kfon

Central Idea

  • Free Internet: The Kerala government officially launched KFON, a flagship project aimed at reducing the digital divide and promoting e-governance.
  • Bridging the Digital Divide: KFON intends to provide high-speed broadband internet access to all households and government offices in Kerala.

What is KFON?                          

  • KFON acts as an optical fibre cable network infrastructure provider, covering 30,000 km and 375 Points-of-Presence across Kerala.
  • KFON’s infrastructure is shared with all service providers, including cable operators, benefiting both government offices and individual beneficiaries.
  • Local ISP/TSP/cable TV providers are responsible for providing internet connectivity to households.

Spread and Speed of KFON

  • Connectivity Goals: The initial stage of KFON aims to connect 30,000 government offices and 14,000 BPL (Below Poverty Line) families in Kerala.
  • Internet Speed and Mobile Connectivity: KFON promises internet speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps and is expected to improve mobile phone call quality.
  • Progress: As of June 5th, 17,412 government offices and 2,105 houses have been connected, with cable networks laid down for 9,000 houses.

Purpose: Empowering the Poor

  • Internet Connection for BPL Families: KFON aims to provide internet connections, free of cost, to 20 lakh families below the poverty line.
  • Phase 1 implementation: The first phase targets 14,000 BPL families, with a long-term plan to select 100 BPL families in each assembly constituency for high-speed internet access.

Need for KFON

  • Left’s Alternative Model of Development: KFON is showcased by the CPI(M) government as part of their commitment to the public sector and an alternative development model.
  • Rural Connectivity Challenges: KFON addresses the limited infrastructure and bandwidth provided by private telecom operators in rural areas.
  • Enhanced Service Delivery: KFON was established to ensure efficient service delivery, quality, reliability, interoperability, and security.

Stakeholders of KFON

  • Joint Venture and Ownership: KFON is a joint venture of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and Kerala State IIT Infrastructure Limited, with KSEB owning the infrastructure assets.
  • Project Implementation: A consortium led by Central PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) is responsible for implementing the KFON project.
  • Project Funding: The project is fully funded by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).

Services Provided

  • Core Network Infrastructure: KFON aims to create an information highway with non-discriminatory access, connecting government offices and educational institutions.
  • Range of Services: KFON offers connectivity to government offices, leasing of dark fibre, internet leased line, fibre to the home, wifi hotspots, colocation of assets, IPTV, OTT, and cloud hosting.
  • Licenses and Facilities: KFON holds Infrastructure Provider (category one) and Internet Service Provider (category B) licenses, allowing access to optic fibre network infrastructure.

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