Six internet service providers shortlisted for KFON

Net connection to 14,000 BPL families and 30,000 govt. offices in the State

Published - June 06, 2022 06:03 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) has shortlisted six internet service providers to provide internet connection to 14,000 below the poverty line (BPL) families and 30,000 government offices in the State. KFON is waiting for Internet Service Provider (ISP) license from the Department of Telecommunications to go ahead with its plan to provide the first phase of connections by June end.

Santhosh Babu, Managing Director, KFON told The Hindu that the companies have quoted very good prices per connection. The State government will be footing this bill as part of its project to provide free internet connections to BPL families.

"Eight companies responded to our call and six of them have now qualified. The government had earlier instructed to go ahead with the connections once we secure an ISP license. We have applied for the same. The process is expected to be completed in the next few days. The company which has quoted the lowest amount is ready to provide connections in almost all areas, as their pricing is based on volumes. We need to see whether there are areas which are difficult to provide connections for some service providers," said Mr.Babu.

Installation of necessary infrastructure has been completed in 23,091 out of the 30,000 government institutions, including offices, educational institutions and hospitals, which will also get connections in the first phase. The offices will be linked to the Network Operation Centre in Kalamassery through 375 Points of Presence (POPs), which are full-fledged nodal IT infrastructure installed within the KSEB substations in each area.

A total of 100 BPL families in each of the State's 140 assembly constituencies are being identified in the first phase through the respective local bodies to provide the free internet connection. The KFON project aims at providing connections to 20 lakh BPL households in the State, in a bid to ensure universal Internet access and address the problem of digital divide. The previous Left Democratic Front government had declared Internet connection as a basic right, when the ₹1,548-crore KFON project was launched in 2019.

The government will be subsidising the internet cost for BPL families. Internet services at affordable rates to the general public will also be made available in the second phase onwards.

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