Hyderabad: Networking equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. will design and implement a broadband project in Andhra Pradesh, the first state to implement such a project in India as part of the centre’s Digital India initiative.
The project will include putting in place 22,500-km-long broadband network that will cover two million households. Cisco signed an agreement to this effect with the Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday.
The company has also zeroed in on Pune to set up its maiden manufacturing unit in the country, John T. Chambers, executive chairman of Cisco told Press Trust of India on the sidelines of a ceremony to launch the fiber grid network in Visakhapatnam. The facility will also serve as export hub for the California-based company.
Cisco will outsource manufacturing to supplier partners like it does in other production facilities globally. “We bring an ecosystem of companies with us... We have already had a conference with 93 global suppliers at Bengaluru to lay the groundwork what digital manufacturing means, what we expect out of our supply chain...it’s a pull through effect," Chambers was quoted as saying.
Cisco will also set up an Internet of Everything (IoE) innovation centre in Visakhapatnam to enable partners and start-ups to build prototypes and solutions around IoE. It will also invest in an advanced Technology Centre of Excellence and Research Lab at the Institute of Digital Technology (IDT) in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. The research lab will focus on cyber security, smart city and manufacturing solutions and will train graduate engineers in advanced digital technologies.
With the fiber optic rollout, Andhra Pradesh becomes the first Indian state to bring all its households online. Under the Digital India initiative launched in July last year, the union government is aiming to connect 250,000 gram panchayats with high speed Internet by 2017.
“Andhra Pradesh is a blueprint for a digital state for other states to follow," Chambers said in a statement.
Households in the state will get broadband connection with speed of 2-20 Mbps while institutions will receive 1-10 Gbps connectivity by 2018. Households will receive Internet, cable and phone connection, all on the same line, for ₹ 149. The project is being implemented using fiber to the home (FTTH) technology at 2,500 locations in the State.
The Andhra Pradesh government is initially investing ₹ 333 crore to implement the statewide optic fiber project, K. Sambasiva Rao, managing director of Andhra Pradesh State Fibernet Ltd. said in a presentation.
Andhra Pradesh State Fibernet Ltd., a government-owned corporation, is responsible for implementing and maintaining the fiber grid project in the State.
The project cost came down to ₹ 333 crore from the initial estimate of ₹ 4,700 crore because the government opted for aerial fiber network, wherein optical fiber lines were laid over existing infrastructure such as electric poles to save costs.
The network will be laid in three districts initially—Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam by April. By July all 13 districts of the state would be connected to the fiber optic grid, said N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.
Over 13,000 km of fiber optic cable would be laid over the next four months, Rao added in his presentation.