Kerala becomes the first state to have its own K-Fon internet service, full details here

Kerala is now the first and only state in the country to have its own internet service, according to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who made the announcement on July 14.

The announcement follows the Ministry of Telecommunications granting an Internet Service Provider (ISP) license to the IT infrastructure project of Kerala Fiber Optic Network Ltd, which aims to provide everyone in the state with a Internet access.

In a tweet, Kerala CM said, “Now our prestigious #KFON project can launch its operations of providing internet as a basic right of our people.”

What is K-Fon?

K-Fon or Kerala Fiber Optic Network Ltd is a state government initiative which aims to bridge the digital divide. According to the government, the infrastructure created by this project should complement the state’s current telecommunications ecosystem.

K-Fon’s goals include:
• Create a basic network infrastructure (information highway) with non-discriminatory access to all service providers so that they can close their connectivity gap.
• Provide a reliable, secure and scalable intranet linking all government offices, educational institutions, hospitals, etc.
• Partner with multiple system operators, telecom service providers, and Internet service providers to provide free Internet access to economically disadvantaged households.
The principle behind the establishment of K-Fon is “non-discriminatory” treatment, which means that no service provider or business segment receives preferential treatment, as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

According to state authorities, any provider at any level of the business segment, including telecommunications service providers, Internet service providers, multi-system operators and local cable operators, can use this network to bridge connectivity gaps on their core networks without having to worry. on compliance with expensive Righ of Way or RoW and expensive CAPEX criteria.

It should also be noted that these community-level networks can be linked to K-Fon and provide access and services to underserved areas that would otherwise be financially unattractive to traditional providers.

The authorities believe that this paradigm can induce market forces to intervene and stimulate competition by offering better connectivity services to citizens.

According to K-Fon’s website, “The K-Fon network will operate as a solid foundation for all government-to-government, government-to-citizen, and business-to-citizen interactions.”

However, to achieve the goals, the state intends to build a statewide fiber optic core network that will connect more than 30,000 government organizations, while using K-Fon infrastructure, it wishes to provide free Internet access to economically disadvantaged families. and subsidized internet for others.

The website states, “As we enter the concept of free Internet for citizens, more and more communities can set up safe community networks that can tap into the KFON network. Eligibility for free internet is still being defined based on Antyodaya listings and BPL cards.

Now that the DoT has given the green light to K-Fon, the state government can begin the operation to bridge the digital divide.

Impact of K-Fon

Apart from bridging the digital divide, “K-Fon will complement the existing telecom ecosystem in the state and act as the perfect catalyst to position Kerala as a Gigabit economy,” the website notes.

It is also said that TSPs/ISPs/cable operators could leverage this network to provide affordable and higher quality broadband connectivity to households. It is also expected to boost economic growth by supporting small and medium enterprises and local businesses with digital infrastructure, as well as benefiting the IT and electronics industries.

The government expects K-Fon to also play an important role in areas such as distance education, job creation, access to distance healthcare, boosting infrastructure development, sharing information on e-governance and agricultural issues, as well as triggering innovations.

Moreover, since the net speeds needed to catch up with 5G will also be much higher when it becomes popular in India, authorities believe that K-Fon will help position the state to lead the race.

“KFON will be able to connect to nearly 8,000+ mobile towers in Kerala and significantly improve mobile call quality and also speed up 4G/5G transitions. Currently 80% of towers are non-fiber and use radio, a problem for 4G/5G deployment, which will also be solved by KFON,” the website pointed out.

The K-Fon Board includes Bishwanath Sinha, Additional Chief Secretary, E&IT, Government of Kerala; Snehil Kumar Singh, Kerala State IT Mission Director; and Santhosh Babu, MD of Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd.

Kerala State Electricity Board Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board and KSITI are the stakeholders of this initiative.

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