The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project rolled out in 2011 is finally gaining momentum. Last week, President Pranab Mukherjee announced that by connecting all of its villages with broadband Internet, Kerala has emerged as a “truly digital state”.
While problems—right-of-way issue, lack of specialized contractors and specific ducts—still persist in the NOFN project, the initiative shown by many states to implement it on their own terms has helped in expediting the digitization process. As noted in the Economic Survey, around 100,000 km of pipes and 75,000 km of optical fibre cables have been laid under the project.
Improved efficiency of government services and a thriving knowledge economy are the direct effects of an optical network. An e-literate and non-digitally divided population will make the reaping of these digital dividends easier. Taking a cue from God’s Own Country could be a start.