NOFN Project by BSNL to connect Panchayats

Telecom Commission, the decision making body of Department of Telecom has approved Rs 20,000 crore for creating National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) that intends to provide broadband services across the villages in India in the next 3 years. The project will be funded by Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund. According to Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communication and Information Technology, the proposal will be put forward the cabinet soon for their approval. The broadband project will initially be executed by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and other institutions like RailTel.
A committee to look into creation and implementation of NOFN was set up by the telecom department April 26 under the co-chairmanship of Sam Pitroda, adviser to the prime minister, and Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India. A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will assume the responsibility for execution of the project after approval of the scheme by the cabinet. The SPV will be finally owned by the government. Sibal also said that the state-owned BSNL has been entrusted with the task of undertaking the preparatory activity for project execution and establishment of the special purpose vehicle. The benefits from the scheme are expected through additional employment, e-education, e-health, e-agriculture and reduction in migration of rural population to urban areas.