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Working on a roadmap for revising NOFN: Prasad

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said the government is working on a roadmap for revising the national optical fibre network (NOFN) project.

He had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday regarding this ambitious project.

"Regarding NOFN, there was a elaborate meeting with Prime Minister and we are taking action on it. When the full roadmap will be ready, we will let you know," he said.

The Minister said for the success of Digital India, the participation of states is very important.

"We expect more participation of states, their involvement is required because Digital India is such a programme, that is party and ideology neutral and whatever broadband architecture will come, it will be useful for states as well as Centre," the Minister said.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) gave a presentation to Modi on revamping the project and discussed former IT Secretary J Satyanarayana-led committee's various recommendations.

The committee had recommended involvement of private sector for the project, increased role of state governments, use of satellites and radiowaves for providing connectivity to certain areas, among others.

The project was conceived in 2011 and deadline to connect all panchayats was to be met by the end of 2013. But later the timeline was deferred to September 2015 by the then UPA government.

The committee had also proposed to rename the project as BharatNet, which is to be completed by December 2017 at an estimated cost of Rs 72,778 crore.

The project forms the backbone of Digital India programme but is lagging behind schedule, which led to the formation of the committee to suggest ways to fast-track the project.

By the end of March 2015, only 20,000 village panchayats got broadband connectivity whereas the target was to connect 50,000 village panchayats.

The BJP-led government re-examined status and set a target to complete roll out in 50,000 VPs by March 31, 2015, another 1 lakh by March 2016 and rest of the VPs by end of 2016.

First Published: Tue, May 12 2015. 19:22 IST