Government of Kerala places utmost importance to the development of its citizens and economic sectors through digital enablement. Government’s vision for a new and vibrant Kerala – NavaKeralam, aims to build a knowledge powered digital Kerala to enable the digital life for all and to uphold digital citizenship. The underlying pillars of this vision are inclusivity, ubiquitous and equitable access, and empowerment of its citizens through freedom and ease of access.
Because of the proactive policies and projects by Government of Kerala, it has always been the forerunner in the adoption of e-governance initiatives and has achieved the prestigious title of ‘first digital state in the country’. This was possible through the visionary measures taken by the Government to open up the doors of digital literacy to its citizens.
In March 2017, the honorable Minister for Finance in the State Budget 2017-2018 announced that the government would invest in building its largest communication network across Kerala called Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON). KFON is planned as a dedicated optical fibre network, capable of efficient service delivery, assured Quality of Service (QoS), reliability, interoperability, redundancy, security and scalable in nature for meeting the upcoming explosive bandwidth demand and to make a world class high speed bandwidth available, accessible and affordable.
The project is planned under two tracks:
This project will utilize the existing power infrastructure of Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (transmission network, distribution poles and substations) to lay the fibre and setup the network. The implementation of entire network envisaged under track 1 is estimated to be completed in 24 months.
Capital expenditure for the Track 1 is funded by Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). The project is expected to meet its operating expenses through monetization of network.
Government has appointed Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited, the nodal agency under the Electronics & Information Technology Dept. (E&ITD) for IT infrastructure in the State, to drive the execution and operations of the project. For the monetization of the network, Government has formed a Joint Venture Company, M/s Kerala Fibre Optic Network Ltd. (KFON Ltd.), between KSITIL, KSEBL and GoK with a share holding pattern of 49:49:2.
For the efficient delivery of services envisaged in Track 2, a suitable delivery model is being worked out.
KFON will complement and enable the existing ecosystem and will bring transformational changes in the areas of governance, health, education and skill development. It shall act as the perfect platform for the State to pioneer in IoT and other emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, etc. and give impetus to innovation and entrepreneurship, positioning Kerala as a prime startup destination. The confluence of data from the different sources will help in building intelligence in governmental systems for better decision making and moving towards a predictive society rather than a reactive society.
Some of the other multi fold benefits that will be felt by citizens, government and businesses are:
Bridge the digital divide by making Internet access a basic right to citizen and enable the state government’s vision to provide free internet access to 20 lakh economically backward households
Connect and enable more than 30,000+ government offices and educational institutions with scalable bandwidth from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps on demand
Facilitate provision of affordable broadband connectivity to households by the TSPs/ISPs/Cable operators by leveraging this network
High speed connectivity to IT Parks/Sea Ports/ Airports and public Wi-Fi hotspots
Digital infrastructure support for local enterprises and SMEs, promotion of electronics and IT industry
Free access to applications/content like e-learning, e-health hosted at government SDC
Act as a backbone for the delivery of a host of transformative solutions such as:- digital commerce, financial inclusion, digital literacy
Promotion of tele-working
Improved ease of doing business through digitally transformed services
Opening of new markets through e-Commerce
A strong foundation for Digital Kerala architecture consisting of platforms for G2G, G2C, B2C interactions, enabling deployment of advanced applications for content delivery
Acceleration of start-up ecosystem and thereby boost economic growth, which is expected to provide wide array of opportunities for product and service incubators, a boost to the startup ecosystem in Kerala
KSITIL issued an open tender through the e-procurement platform of Government of Kerala on 14 June 2018 and Consortium of M/s Bharat Electronics Limited (Lead Bidder), M/s RailTel, M/s SRIT and M/s LS Cable emerged as the L1 Bidder and onboarded as the System Integrator (SI) in Mar 2019.
SI has completed survey of about 32,000 km of cable route and 29,000 end institutions. The field work status is as follows:- completion civil work of 73 Points of Presence (PoP), laying of about 140 kms of ADSS cable (currently work is progressing in 13 districts), civil and electrical works of NOC location are in progress.
Govt. Owned premises
40,000 kms of OFC across Kerala
1600 Cr. project