Special Service and Features09-February, 2015 15:10 IST
Programmes and Initiatives of Government of India Department of Telecommunications



Communication and IT/ Republic Day 2015




            Growth in the reach of telecommunications is one of the key drivers of socio-economic development.  The performance of the Telecommunication sector during 2014-15 has been encouraging with approximately 30 million new telephone connections added during April to October, 2014.  Overall teledensity in the country has increased from 75.23% at the beginning of the financial year to 77.12% at the end of November, 2014, while total broadband connections have touched 82.22 million.


2.         In order to ensure equity in access and to accelerate the socio-economic growth in the rural areas, the Government has planned to connect all 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats in the country with minimum 100 Mbps bandwidth under the National Optical Fibre Network Project (NOFN).  Cable laying has been completed to about 5000 villages and the project is likely to be completed by 31.12.2016.


3.         Basic telephony activity is critical for every part of the country.  The Government has identified approximately 55,691 villages as per 2011 census which do not yet have telecom connectivity.  Based on a comprehensive GIS mapping of these villages, a decision has been taken to progressively cover all uncovered villages with telecommunication services.   In the first phase, a comprehensive development plan for North-Eastern region at a cost of Rs. 5336 crores has been launched which will provide mobile coverage to 8621 uncovered villages, all national highways in NE and also strengthen the transmission network in these States.  The project will be supplemented through OFC Network augmentation between Block headquarters and District headquarters in Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.


4.         In order to provide telecommunication connectivity in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas and support local population and security forces in these areas, a scheme has been launched to provide mobile services in 2199 locations at a total cost of Rs. 3567 crores across 10 States.  The project is likely to be completed by September, 2015 and is being funded by the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF). 


5.         The Government will progressively initiate work to ensure voice connectivity in uncovered villages in Himalayan States (J&K, Himachal Pradesh) and border States (Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana).  Focused infrastructure projects are being planned to ensure connectivity to the Andaman Islands and Lakshadweep through submarine cable and augmented satellite connectivity.


6.         The Government is committed to further the objectives of ‘Make in India’.  C-DOT has developed Next Generation Networks, Wireless Broadband and Network Management Systems which are supporting domestic telecom players. Appropriate measures will be taken to create test beds for use of developers of indigenous telecom technology products.  Test beds shall also be created for testing & certification of telecom products so as to ensure supply of quality products meeting the prescribed standards including safety, security and seamless operation of such products.


7.         The Government is deeply committed to the principles of Good Governance and transparency in the award of spectrum to the service providers.  There are plans to conduct the auction of spectrum in 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz bands.  The auction of spectrum in 2100 MHz band is also planned along with auction of spectrum in 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz bands.  A roadmap will also be chalked out for providing more spectrum, as per the National Telecom Policy 2012, to serve public interest keeping in view the principles of affordable and reliable communication services.


8.         The Government will ensure the security of its communication infrastructure since National security in the present world is closely linked with it.  The Government, therefore, committed to put in place a series of measures to protect and preserve our communication network in the same manner as we protect our borders.


9.         The Government is also committed to provide indigenous, state-of-the-art and cost-effective total telecom solutions. Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), which is India's premier telecommunications R&D centre, is not only developing technologies but also helping in creating an eco-system for large scale telecom equipment manufacturing. After taking dial-tone to villages and hinterlands, C-DOT has now focussed its vision on the next goal, of taking broadband to the masses. The institution is totally focussed on making the Internet a reality for the rural population and providing access to e-governance, e-education, e-medicine, e-banking, for empowerment of citizens using communications technology. It has developed technologies in optical communications (GPON), Next Generation Networks (Softswitches, Gateways, Routers, Switches), Wireless broadband (WiFi and LTE), Software Applications (GyanSetu), and Network Management, thus providing a complete bouquet of technologies to the telecom eco-system.


National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)

NOFN is a landmark initiative in taking forward the vision of Digital India which aims to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. NOFN, funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), Department of Telecom, Ministry of Communications & IT, Govt. of India, is envisaged to provide non- discriminatory access to bridge the digital divide across rural India. NOFN is set to link 600 million rural citizens of India across 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats of India spread over 6600 blocks and 631 districts through Broadband optical fibre network. NOFN will provide a minimum bandwidth of 100 Mbps to each of the 2.5 lakh GPs thereby facilitating delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, public internet access, G2C, B2B, P2P, B2C etc., weather, agricultural  and other services to rural India. The project also seeks to achieve a huge employment generation opportunity through operation and maintenance activities, BPO services, rural entrepreneurship etc.


NOFN Project Highlights


·         World’s largest rural broadband connectivity project through optical fibre

·          All 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats in India to be connected on optical fibre

·          Minimum 100 Mbps bandwidth at each Gram Panchayat

·          NOFN to be Non discriminatory Access infrastructure for all Service Providers

·          Approx 6 lakh Km new incremental optical fibre cable to be laid

·          Indigenous equipment design and manufacturing under “Make in India”

·          High Capacity Network Management System and Network Operation Centre




Digital India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India to integrate the government departments and the people of India to ensure effective governance. It also aims at ensuring that the government services are made available to citizens electronically by reducing paperwork. NOFN network is an important step towards realization of this ambitious vision
of rural empowerment by facilitating delivery of following services:


·         e-Governance services such as Land records, Birth/Death certificates, Aadhar based services, NREGA etc.

·         e-Healthcare like online medical consultations, medical records, medicine supply, Pan India exchange of patient information etc.

·         e-Education aiming at delivery of quality education in all schools at villages, Digital literacy programme etc.

·         Public Internet Access including availability of Internet services to villages, delivery of Internet based services by Common Service Centres (CSCs), enabling flexibility of choosing the service provider by the end-customers etc.

·      e-commerce such as Rural banking through online transactions and ATMs, online purchases and online transactions for utilities like railway bookings, electricity bill payments etc as well as online selling of rural goods etc.


Utilities for Panchayats:


ü  Panchayat Management - Gram sabha meetings, village records, updating of citizen databases, effective performance monitoring of Panchayats.

ü  Community Participation - Intra-village, Intra-district sharing of practices and resources Communication with Block, and District.

ü  Knowledge Dissemination - Sharing of Agricultural practices, productivity techniques, Small enterprises, Vocational learning.

ü  Delivery of Citizen Services - Delivery of services including Health, Education and Finance, etc. A single point of Government-to-citizen interaction for Centrally sponsored/Central sector/ State   sponsored schemes and Grievance redressal.

ü  Developmental planning - Road, transportation and power connectivity; knowledge connectivity in the form of good educational & training institutions. Provision of drinking water and upgradation of existing health facilities. Market connectivity to enable farmers to get the best prices for their produce.


The project is being implemented by three central PSUs (CPSUs) namely BSNL, PGCIL and Railtel in the phase first and being managed by the Government of India entity, Bharat Broad Band Nigam Limited (BBNL). A key feature of the project is that the GPON equipment used in the project has been indigenously designed and developed by C-DOT and manufactured domestically.


First step towards achieving Prime Minister’s Digital India dream: NOFN reaches Idukki in Kerala

As a first step in the direction of achieving the ambitious vision of Digital India, Hon’ble Minister for Communications & IT, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, in the presence of Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Oommen Chandy and other dignitaries commissioned India's first Hi-Speed Rural Broadband Network (NOFN) in Idukki District, Kerala, under the Digital India Programme at an inaugural function held in Thiruvananthapuram on 12th January 2015.


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Speaking on this momentous occasion, Hon’ble Minister for Communications & IT, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, said, “India witnesses a new era of digital empowerment. The new government has firmly set its focus on the all round development and inclusive growth of the country. NOFN Project is a giant leap in order to bridge the digital divide in India by linking all Gram Panchayats through the common platform of Optical Fibre Cable. I extend my complete support to this project and I am proud to be a part of this new digital journey in India’s history”.

With the commissioning of Idukki, the district, which is relatively inaccessible and has a large tribal and rural population, it has become the first district in the country to have all its 52 Gram Panchayats connected through NOFN. As there is no feasibility for laying optical Fibre Cable  to Edamalakudy Gram Panchayat in Devikulam Block of Idukki District, it is connected through VSAT. The National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) will provide connectivity to all 152 Blocks and 977 Gram Panchayats in Kerala.

The work of laying fibre-optic cables under the NOFN project has commenced in 940 Blocks spread over 265 Districts all over India. This will cover about 21,000 Gram Panchayats and work is likely to start in many more blocks in the near future. About 50,000 Gram Panchayats are targeted to be connected by March 2015 under Phase 1; another one lakh Gram Panchayats by March 2016 under Phase 2 and the remaining one lakh by December 2016.

It is expected that the establishment of NOFN would open up new avenues for access service providers like mobile operators, cable TV Operators etc. to launch next generation services, and spur  creation of local employment opportunities encompassing  e-commerce, IT outsourcing etc. as well as services such as e-banking, e-health and e-education for inclusive growth.

C-DOT Next Generation Network

Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), the organization that started the transformation of India into 21st century Information & Technology superpower, was founded in August 1984 as a registered Scientific Society of Government of India. C-DOT is the only Telecom Technology Development Centre in India, and is credited for bringing first Telecom Revolution of India. It is an R&D institution with a difference, in the sense that it developed telecom systems which got manufactured in large numbers by Indian companies, went out into the field and addressed a vital national need.

C-DOT is working on cutting edge technologies and has developed many solutions for the social, strategic, and telecom sector of the country. More than 30,000 C-DOT Exchanges totalling approximately 25 million telephone lines have been installed and are operational in the field.

When it comes to broadband, a powerful growth enabler, India has some catching up to do, both in urban and rural areas. C-DOTians realize this and have already focussed their vision on the next goal, of taking broadband to the masses by doing an encore of what they did in the eighties when they took dial-tone to the villages.

The institution is totally focussed on making the Internet a reality for the average Indian and providing an access to e-education, e-medicine, e-banking, e-market, in fact a whole gamut of e-empowerments. It has developed technologies in optical communications (GPON), Next Generation Networks (Softswitches, Gateways, Routers, Switches), Wireless broadband (WiFi and LTE), Network Management and real-time ICT application (GyanSetu), thus providing a complete bouquet of technologies to the Indian telecom eco-system. The migration of existing C-DOT MAX exchanges to VoIP based NGN through C-DOT MAX‑NG proves technology capability and its possible adaptations to developing countries in the world.


C-DOT has also designed and developed India’s first indigenous Terabit Router. Hon’ble Minister of Communications & IT, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated C-DOT Terabit Router along with GPON based Fiber-to-the-Desk solution (FTTD) during a TSDSI function held at C-DOT Campus on 14th October 2014.


C-DOT not only developed technologies but also helped create an eco-system for large scale telecom equipment manufacturing in the country. C-DOT Innovation and R&D Model is tightly linked with Transfer of Technology (TOT) & Manufacturing. The aim of technology transfer is to bring about growth by multiplication of production units with similar technologies, and diversifying the product-range, thereby achieving economies of scale and economies of scope. The Transfer of Technology (TOT) philosophy of C-DOT aims a high rate of success in the technology transfer process. It aims at educating the recipients of technology not only on the infrastructural requirements and requisite know-how for production, but also at providing the licensed manufacturers with vital details about the sources for the capital equipment and components.

With its dedicated and enthusiastic teams, C-DOT is committed to creating new waves and driving broadband penetration across the country, especially in rural areas, to promote inclusive development and bridge the digital divide. Some of C-DOT’s latest developments are summarized in the following paragraph.

Next Generation Networks (NGN) is a popular name given to an all IP (Internet Protocol) packet data network which can carry voice, data and video traffic, in contrast to present day networks which need different layers to carry different types of traffic. Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) is an industry standard system that can be used to provide triple play (voice, video and data) through Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) services. GPON enables large amounts of data (2.5Gbps downstream and 1.25 Gbps upstream) to consumer through optical fibre, which makes it a virtually future proof broad-band solution to take the benefits of e-education, e-governance, e-medicine etc. to rural India. Broadband Wireless Terminal (BBWT) is a lightweight low power consuming wireless device suited to indoor or all weather outdoor use. Network Management System (NMS) is the nerve centre of a telecom network. C-DOT NMS solution is being used for management of different type of networks. C-DOT is also developing the NMS for National Optical Fiber Network (NoFN) of BBNL. GyanSetu is an internet based real-time ICT system designed by C-DOT primarily to provide various e-services to the under privileged rural population of India. Such systems are envisaged to be deployed in Gram panchayat as a carrier of information and knowledge along with the traditional other government e-services. This common infrastructure will serve the entire village population and can be accessed easily due to its simplified design. GyanSetu was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister of Communications & IT on the occasion of Good Governance Day.



With Digital India & NTP 2012’s accent on indigenous R&D and manufacturing, C-DOT is poised to play a greater role in revitalizing Indian telecom manufacturing and services sector by providing cutting edge technologies and products. With keen R&D effort, C-DOT technologies offer advantages in terms of appropriateness for Indian environment, Innovation & related local manufacturing.

*With inputs for Ministry of Communication and IT


(PIB Features)

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