Gujarat Fiber Grid Network Ltd

The Gujarat cabinet has approved the formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called `Gujarat Fiber Grid Network Ltd (GFGNL)' to connect all parts of the state with high-bandwidth internet. The project envisages a 35,000-km long optical fibre network to carry high-speed internet to all villages, and provide unlimited internet access at low costs to major cities and district towns.
The Union government will provide a fund of Rs.2,000 crore towards cost of the project, which includes maintenance costs for five years.
An official close to the development said, “The project will be wholly funded by the Union government under the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) plan.The state government aims to complete the project within next 1.5 years. “Currently ,“ said the official, “the state government provides basic services through the e.gram network. But after the optical fibre network becomes operational, every village in the state will receive internet at 100 Mbps speed.“
A high-level committee headed by the chief secretary has been formed with representatives from the Union government and all state departments, said sources. In support of PM Modi's Digital India drive, the state government is going for complete digitalization of all the gram panchayats, and government and public offices including schools, colleges, and hospitals, and intends to provide free WiFi facilities in public places. “Collector offices in even major districts currently receive internet at only 34 Mbps, while taluka level offices get 10 Mbps speed. This can go up to an astounding 10 Gbps with dedicated optical fibre network,“ said the official.
“The state government is planning 24 optical fibre cable lines with 12 channels of broadband internet.From these, two will be dedicated for government use, while six will be auctioned to private agencies like mobile or cable service providers,“ the official added. In the first phase, 7,099 villages in 123 talukas will be brought under the network, and in the second phase another 6,916 villages in 124 talukas will be covered.
The state government will use 9,000 electricity poles across the state in the project and Gigabyte Passive Optical Network (GOPN) technology will be used for last-mile connectivity . GIS mapping for the network has been done, said sources.
Sources said private WiFi service providers will be permitted a business model built around advertisement revenues, while they will have to provide basic public internet access to all irrespective of economic status.
Two channels of the network will be reserved for sharing of bandwidth and another two will be kept open as backup in case of service failure in other channels to provide uninterrupted services.
The National Fiber Optic Network (NFON) plan had been initiated in 2011 by the Congress-led UPA government, but the state government failed to implement the state-wide network at the time.

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