Goa is set to become the first state in India to be fully connected through a high-bandwidth broadband network.
By March, the network will be rolled out together by the state government and Bangalore-based tech solutions company United Telecom Ltd in a so-called public-private partnership model.
Optic fibre cables and wireless technologies will be used across the state and will also link some 200 computer kiosks that deliver government services to the state’s residents.
United Telecom is also providing connectivity for 450 common service centres in Jharkhand.
The first phase of the Goa broadband network, connecting every taluka and district with 10gbps (gigabits per second, a measure of speed of the network) bandwidth is already complete, while the second phase, connecting panchayats in 403 villages with 1gbps connectivity, will be complete by December. Every household will get bandwidth of 2-10mbps (megabits per second) by March.
“We will invest Rs100-150 crore on this project and this will include laying down the fibre cables across the state and setting up routers and switches,” said M. Chandrashekar, vice-president at United Telecom.
Goans will have faster and more efficient access to voice, video and data services including phone services on the internet, video and high-speed internet connectivity, Internet protocol TV, cable TV services, distance education courses, video-enabled medical services and online gaming.
“To avail the voice and video services on the Internet, the citizen will have to pay an upper limit of Rs270 per month, while voice, video and data services bundled together will cost Rs522 per month,” said M.N. Rao, adviser and director at the state’s information technology department.
The computer kiosks project is part of an ambitious Union ministry of information technology project to wire up 100,000 computer kiosks in rural India, costing Rs5,470 crore, with the involvement of the private sector.
In Goa, together with 3i Infotech Ltd, the state government plans to set up 208 computer kiosks within the next six months. A portal that will have information on different state schemes, online application forms and gas and electricity bills and insurance and medical services, among others, is being set up as also a data centre that will host such content.
“The content for the portal is ready and we are aiming to launch the portal and have our state data centre up and running by the end of September. We have identified all the 208 locations for the citizen service centres and they will be live by the end of this year,” Rao said.
3i Infotech will manage the infrastructure and maintenance of the entire project for five years at an estimated investment of Rs100 crore and will use business software firm BEA Systems Inc.’s suite of products. While 3i Infotech will set up, run and manage the kiosks, data centre and the portal, it will depend on the state-wide area broadband network for connectivity.