Bangalore: The Union government has sanctioned Rs5,990 crore over 10 years to build a high-speed communication network to connect researchers in 1,500 educational institutions.
The National Knowledge Network would help in collaborative research for applications in areas such as health, education, agriculture and e-governance, the government said in a statement on Thursday.
The cabinet committee on infrastructure cleared the setting up of the network.
The government had originally announced setting up the knowledge network in February 2008 with an initial sanction of Rs100 crore. It will take two more years for the core backbone to be built for the network.
The architecture of the network, recommended by the National Knowledge Commission in 2006, will have a high-speed bandwidth of 10 gigabytes per second (gbps) and more. The institutes will have a last-mile bandwidth of 1 gbps.
“The crux of the success of the knowledge network is related to the education-related applications, databases and delivery of services to the users on demand,” the government said.
The network would enable use of specialized applications that allow sharing ofhigh-performance computing facilities, e-libraries, virtual classrooms and very large databases.
The new network comes nearly a decade after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government in 2001 scrapped a proposal to build a high-speed backbone to connect research institutions.
The network was to be built by Sankhya Vahini, a consortium of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and IUNet, a subsidiary of Carnegie Mellon University in the US, at a cost of Rs1,300 crore.
“It will definitely improve the knowledge production capability of the country,” said N. Balakrishnan, associate director at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. “It covers more institutions now.”
Balakrishnan, who was involved in the Sankhya Vahini project when it was first proposed in 1995, said it is good that the content for the new network would come from Sakshat—the education portal of the ministry of human resource development.
“The two, if they are combined correctly, it could lead to lot of great things,” he said.