Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the National Optical Fibre Network ?

Ans: This is part of the Digital India initiative of the Government of India. NOFN is envisaged as a non-discriminatory Telecom infrastructure which will bridge the gap in rural access.


NOFN, which is being 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.

 
“The establishment of NOFN will 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 and IT outsourcing, as well as e-banking, e-health and e-education”


The project is being implemented by three central PSUs (CPSUs) namely BSNL, PGCIL and Railtel in the phase first. The Government of India entity, Bharat Broad Band Nigam Limited (BBNL), will centrally manage the project through a high capacity Network Management System being developed by C-DOT. 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. The monitoring of the progress of the project will be done thorugh Primavera Software.


In the first phase NOFN shall be extended to cover 50,000 GPs, with the balance 2,00,000 GPs expected to be covered in a phased manner by Dec 2016.

Q2: What is digital India ?

Ans: Digital India is an 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. The initiative also includes a plan to connect rural areas under high-speed internet networks.

 

The programme also aims at providing digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen as well as high-speed internet as a core utility in all Gram Panchayats through NOFN. On its completion, NOFN is expected to facilitate broadband connectivity to over 600 million rural citizens of the country. 

Q3: What are the major highlights of National Optical Fiber Project (NOFN) ?

Ans:  The major highlights are as follows:
 

  • World’s largest rural broadband connectivity project through optical fibre
     
  • 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”
     
  • Optimizing the usage of existing resources Optical fibre (dark fibre)
     
  • GPON technology is being used for the first time in a geographically widespread country such as India
     
  • Geographical Information system (GIS) to map with planning, designing and marketing of the services.
     
  • Centrally located High Capacity Network operation Centre (NOC) for network management (NMS) to monitor and ensure the up time and provisioning.
     
  • Wi-Fi connectivity at each ONT to ensure spread.
Q4: What initiative is being taken by the Government ?

Ans: India today 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. 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.

Q5: What is the vision of PM on Digital India ?

Ans:Sharing his vision for ‘Digital India’ in his speech at the 68th Indian Independence Day celebrations on August 15, 2014, at Red Fort, New Delhi, Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, said, “When I talk of “Digital India”, I don`t speak of the elite, it is for the poor people. You can imagine what a quality education the children in villages will get, if all the villages of India are connected with Broadband Connectivity and if we are able to give long distance education to the schools in every remote corner of the villages”. He further added, “I say that today it is IT that has the potential to connect each and every citizen of the country and that is why we want to realise the mantra of unity with the help of `Digital India`”.

Q6: How NOFN will achieve the purpose of Digital India ?

Ans: NOFN is intended as a Transport network to enforce Digital India through delivery of utilities for Panchayats through:
 

  • Panchayat Management - Gram sabha meetings, village records, updating of citizen databases, effective performance monitoring of Panchayats.
     
  • Community Participation - Intra-village, Intra-district sharing of practices and resources Communication with Block, and District.
     
  • Knowledge Dissemination - Sharing of Agricultural practices, productivity techniques, Small enterprises, Vocational learning.
     
  • 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.
     
  • 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.
Q7: What NOFN will provide ?

Ans: 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. 

Q8: How this new initiative is proposed to be implemented ?

Ans: 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. In the first phase NOFN shall be extended to cover 50000 GPs with the balance 200000 GPs expected to be covered in a phased manner by 2016. 

Q9: In what time frame this initiative is proposed to be implemented ?

Ans: NOFN is targeted to be implemented by Dec 2016. The work on the project has already commenced in 26 states across the country. 3 Government CPSUs viz BSNL, Railtel and PGCIL are actively involved in execution of the work. 

Q10: How much of incremental Fibre is to be laid as part of NOFN ?

Ans: It has been estimated that incremental OFC of 2.4 km/Gram Panchayat has to be laid. Thus a total of 6,00,000 km of OFC are likely to be laid under NOFN.
 

The GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) standard differs from other PON standards in that it achieves higher bandwidth and higher efficiency using larger, variable-length packets. GPON offers efficient packaging of user traffic, with frame segmentation allowing higher quality of service (QoS) for delay-sensitive voice and video communications traffic.

Q11: What is the cost of the project and who will provide the funding ?

Ans: Total project cost about 30000 crores (approx.).

Project Funding from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) Government of India.

Q12: Whether the project is delayed and what steps are taken to expedite the execution by the Govt ?

Ans: The project is by and large on track and not delayed. Through rigorous monitoring and various initiatives the speed of execution has been increased several times. We are also in the process of adding additional agencies from Private sector for turnkey implementation and expediting the progress.
A committee has been constituted to assess and suggest to the Government various initiatives that can be taken for expediting the project. 

Q13: What are the major milestones achieved till now in the implementation of the project ?

Ans: The tenders for Trenching, Pipe laying and Cable works have been finalized in around 2000 Blocks out of 6600 Blocks across 26 states.


The Optical Fiber cable and accessories has been procured and delivered to the site for around 110000 Kms. Further deliveries are in progress.


The delivery of GPON Equipment required for connectivity between Gram Panchayat and Block has commenced and installation is in progress on full scale to begin with in Kerala and Karnataka. As on date 999 GPs are installed and connected and the work is going to commence in other states also very soon.

Q14: Whether the project is delayed vis a vis target of 50000 GPs assigned for March 2015 ?

Ans: The tender for trenching, laying and cable works have been finalized for more than 50000 GPs. With the current rate of progress it is expected that about 50000 Kms covering 20000 GPs will be connected end to end by April 2015 and by June 2015, around 75000 Kms of PLB duct work will be completed covering 30 Districts across 13 states.

It is expected that Karnataka, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Puducherry will become first states / UTs to become fully covered during the course of year.

Q15: Whether any District has been fully completed till now ?

Ans: Idduki District in Thiruvananthapuram Kerala, was commissioned as India's first district under Network (NOFN) in Idukki District, Kerala, under the Digital India Programme on 12 th Jan 2015. The broadband services were made available to all 53 Gram panchayats of Idduki District which included one remote tribal Gram panchayat Edamalakuddy in Idukki district. This settlement has been connected to the NOFN through VSAT media which has also provided them with voice connectivity.

Q16: What major challenges are faced in execution ?

Ans:

  • Right of Way permission mainly from Forest Department, Railways for railway crossing and National Highway authority of India.
     
  • Speed of execution.
     
  • Availability of PLB Ducts.
     
  • Infrastructure support at Gram Panchayats in form of protected space, power supply
Q17: How NOFN will ensure Broadband connectivity with adequate bandwidth ?

Ans: This is to be achieved by utilizing the existing optical fiber network of public sector companies and extending it to the Gram Panchayats.

Q18: What are the Technical details of NOFN ?


Ans:

  • The network has used Passive Devices such as SPLITTERS on the route for connecting multiple GPs on single fibre.
     
  • The plans for approx 4500 Blocks have been put on BBNL website ( www.bbnl.nic.in ) in the public domain under “Know your Fiber”.
     
  • The Project will be centrally managed by BBNL through a high capacity Network Management System being developed by C-DoT.
Q19: Why Optical Fibre is being used for Digital India ?

Ans: The optical Fibre is the most economical means of communication as it can carry higher bandwidth applications.

Q20: What are the different technologies being used ?

Ans: GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) technology will be used for NOFN Project. GPON is an open standard technology.

Q21: What is GPON technology ?

 
Ans:

  • National Optic Fibre Network uses Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) Technology which brings fiber cabling and signals to the end user using a point-to-multipoint scheme that enables a single optical fiber to serve multiple users. The architecture uses passive (unpowered) optical splitters, reducing the cost of equipment compared to point-to-point architectures. The Connectivity of NOFN is like Optical Line Terminal (OLT) is placed at BSNL Telephone Exchanges (nearest to Block) which is connected to Optical Network Terminal (ONT) at Block / Grama Panchayats with Optical Fibre.
     
  • GPON helps to connect Blocks to GPs on point to multi-point connections.
     
  • GPON technology will carry information in the form of packets which is the technology of the Day.
     
  • GPON technology has low power consumption equipment and hence is suitable for Rural India.
     
  • In addition SOLAR POWER backup is being provided to ensure 24/7 availability.
Q22: What is BBNL ?

Ans: Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), set up by the Government of India for the Establishment, Management and Operation of NOFN. BBNL has been incorporated as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU)/ Company under Companies Act (1956). BBNL was incorporated on 25/02/2012.

Q23: What is the Government policy for driving National Broadband ?

Ans: 

The National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012 states the following:
 

  • Affordable and reliable broadband on demand by 2015.
     
  • Target of 175 Million Connection by 2017.
     
  • Target of 600 Million Connection by 2020 at minimum 2 mbps speed and higher speed up to 100 mbps on demand.
     
  • Recognise Telecom and BB connectivity as a basic necessity like education and health and work towards, “Right to Broadband".
     
  • Synergy between existing on-going and future Government programs viz e-Gov, e- Panchayat, MGNREGA, NKN, Aakash, etc. and Broadband roll-out and sharing of infrastructure.
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