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Foreign firms eye broadband business via cable: Prasad

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New Delhi | Wednesday, 2015 5:36:32 PM IST
Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Wednesday said foreign firms are showing interest in providing technology for broadband through cable television network in the country.

A cable TV firm operating in Aligarh, Vrindavan, Mathura is delivering broadband service through cable TV network with its foreign partner. A lot of foreign players are now attracted towards this, he said.

Prasad was speaking at an event organised by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) here.

Talking about broadband penetration in the country and the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project, he said: "I accept that India's broadband penetration is low but we are working on NOFN project to resolve this in a time-bound manner."

"Around 30 kilometeres fibre has been laid in the country during the last 25 years, and under NOFN we have plans to lay 7 lakh kilometers fibre in about 3 years plus time."

India's first hi-speed rural broadband network was commissioned Jan 12 in Kerala's Idukki district.

NOFN is set to link 600 million rural citizens of India across 2.5 lakh gram panchayats spread over 6,600 blocks and 631 districts through broadband optical fibre network.

NOFN, which is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) of the department of telecom is envisaged as a non-discriminatory infrastructure that will bridge the gap in rural telecom access.

In the first phase, it will cover 50,000 gram panchayats, with the balance 200,000 panchayats expected to be covered in a phased manner by 2016. The project is being implemented by three central PSUs - BSNL, PGCIL and Railtel in the first phase.

The minister said once the companies start developing content in local languages, it will be easier for the government to assist in delivering the services electronically to citizen.

--Indo-Asian News Service ag/vip/vt

( 307 Words)

2015-01-14-15:56:23 (IANS)

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