Government on Thursday approved a project to connect 1500 educational institutes across the country through high speed data communication network.
A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the establishment of the National Knowledge Network (NKN) at an outlay of Rs 5,990 crore to be implemented by the National Informatics Centre over a period of 10 years, an official spokesperson said.
“The NKN will have about 25 core Point of Presence (PoPs) and 600 secondary PoPs. It will connect around 1500 institutions,” she said adding that the setting up of core network is expected to be completed in a span of 24 months.
On January 21, the CCI had given its in-principle approval to the project which is one of the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC).
The network is expected to encourage sharing of knowledge, specialised resources and collaborative research.
The NKN was announced by the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in his Budget speech of 2008-09.
Initially Rs. 100 crore was allocated to the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and IT for establishing the Network.
The architecture of the National Knowledge Network will be scalable and the network will consist of an ultra-high speed core in the multiples of 10 Gbps and upwards.
“The core shall be complemented with a distribution layer at appropriate speeds. The participating institutions can connect to the NKN at speed of 1 Gbps or to the distribution layer through a last mile connectivity bandwidth,” the spokesperson said.
“The NKN will provide nation-wide ultra high speed data-network highway. Various other networks in the country can take advantage of this ultra high speed backbone, with national and international reach to create independent and closed user groups,” she said.
NKN is expected to enable scientists, researchers and students from diverse spheres across the country to work together for advancing human development in critical and emerging areas.
It is also expected to catalyse knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer between stakeholders seamlessly — that too across the nation and globally.
NKN is expected to encourage a larger section of research and educational institutions to create intellectual property and also enable use of specialised applications, that allow sharing of high performance computing facilities, e-libraries, virtual classrooms and very large databases.
“Applications such as countrywide classrooms will address the issue of faculty shortage and ensure quality education delivery across the country,” the spokesperson said.
In the initial phase, a core backbone consisting of 15 Points of Presence (PoPs) have been established with 2.5 Gbps capacity, she said adding that around 40 institutions of higher learning and advanced research have already been connected to the network and six virtual classrooms set up.