Gram Panchayats will get broadband speed of up to 100 Mbps under a government project that aims to connect all 2.5 lakh panchayats in the country over the next two years, Parliament was informed on Friday.

“Government has approved National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) which plans to connect all Gram Panchayats in the country through optic fibre cable... Dark fibre network thus created will ensure a bandwidth of at least 100 Mbps at each gram panchayat,” Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said in a reply to the Rajya Sabha.

With such high speed broadband networks, people will be able to see videos on Internet as clearly as seen on TV and make video calls, among other things.

Such networks can also help train and educate people using broadband connected to the computer through live and interactive video sessions.

Mr. Sibal said the project will be financed by Universal Service Obligation Fund at an initial estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore.

He said that around 5,000 gram panchayats are likely to be connected with optical fibre connectivity by December 31, 2013.

“Under NOFN, all gram panchayats are expected to be provided with optical fibre cable in a span of two years. This will enable various service providers to launch various broadband Internet and communication services,” Mr. Sibal said.

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