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Kerala now aims to achieve another milestone — free internet for every poor household. The state government is planning to prove high-speed, affordable internet connectivity to 20 lakh families by the end of this year, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said earlier. Over 30,000 government institutions, including offices, schools, IT parks, airports and ports will get free connectivity through Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) Project.

Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) Project is a joint venture of the state’s power utility, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), and the public sector information technology (IT) arm, Kerala State IT Infrastructure Ltd. The plan is to establish a new optic fibre network, and Wi-Fi transmission centres across the state.

For last-mile connectivity, the fibre network will use the electricity network of KSEB, which has a presence in 95% households in Kerala, according to KFON estimates. KFON will then collaborate with internet service providers to relay internet over the fibre network. It will also be a booster for e-governance, said the government, which aims to lease out the fibre network for telecom and cable television operators and offset some of the huge costs.

Through the KFON project, the government has promised on delivering internet free of cost to two million families living below the poverty line. The project is funded at a cost of 1,548 crores. A consortium of firms led by the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has bagged the project.

Coronavirus has changed our lives in more ways than one. Work from home and remote learning have become new normal. So free internet connectivity to all can prove beneficial in the long run.

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