What is KFON Kerala Project?
The Kerala Fiber optic Network (KFON) project is the Mega Infrastructure Project of the Government of Kerala, which aims to build a high-speed, reliable, and scalable fiber network across the state to provide connectivity to 30,000 government institutions and 20 lakh households through the transmission and distribution facility of the Kerala State Electricity Board Limited, which is in its implementation phase.
The KFON project can provide fast internet, landline, and cable TV to all destinations where KSEB electrical posts are available. The aim is to provide free internet access to more than 20 lakh BPL families in the state.
The cable will be installed through the transmission line infrastructure of KSEB. To a certain extent, this method avoids digging the road.
The Government aims to bring more than 40 lakhs of end-users through KSEB’s distribution network to homes and offices. This distribution network is connected to the substation (core network). Local agencies will be assigned to this distribution.
Besides, there is a 600 km underground cable. The KSEB has a network capacity of 2 lakh km in the state. Initially, only a quarter of it is consumed.
The infrastructure of KFON project
The equipment and cables for the KFON project are imported from South Korea. The first phase of the works is almost over.
The cables used in the KFON project are a combination of ADSS (All Dielectric Self Supporting) Fiber Optic Cable and OPGW (Optical Ground Wire). This combination guarantees the best standards and reliability.
KSEB uses ADSS cables through power poles and OPGW cables (core lines) on the main lines of the KSEB transmission towers.
A KSEB substation in each district will be connected to the main network. This substation is known as the Core Point of Presence (POP).
The 14 districts are connected in the form of two rings (ring topology). Because it connects in a loop, the advantage is that in the event of a network failure, the data will travel to the other side in the opposite direction, which ensures break-free connectivity.
The core layer is connected to the Kochi Infopark Network Operating Center, the Pattom Power House Disaster Recovery Center, Thiruvananthapuram, and the State Data Centers.
The data transmission in the core layer is at a speed of 800 Gbps. The network operating center at Kochi Infopark will be responsible for functional coordination. The Pattam Disaster Response Center will be used in the event of an emergency.
The imported equipment will be used for the project only after inspection by government-appointed experts. The control room of the project has been started already in Kochi by December 2019.
All the government offices in the state will be converted to the e-Governance system with optical fiber cables reaching through KSEB’s network. And free internet access will be available to educational institutions.
Also, the K FON Kerala project is to provide households with Land Line, Internet, and cable TV through the same network.
It will set up 2000 WiFi Hotspots across the state. This last-mile connectivity point will be made available to all schools, hospitals, offices, and homes.
District Collectors have already compiled a list of WiFi Hotspots in each district. The tender was awarded to BSNL. This includes libraries, parks, bus stands, government offices, and tourist centers.
KSITL and KSEB will hold a 50% stake in the joint venture company (SPV), which is set up to put Internet cable through the high-speed transmission network. KSITL, with its IT mission technical assistance, is moving to the cable network.
As Indicated, home phones, cable TVs, computers, and laptops can work at the same time in this system.
Those who have an Internet service provider license can access their services through this program. Cable TV operators also have the opportunity to collaborate with K-FON to bring their services to the masses.
More than 30000 government institutions and educational institutions will be able to access internet connections from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps speed through this K-FON Kerala project.
How the Project is beneficial to other MSOs and Local Cable Operators?
Any internet service provider like BSNL, VI, and Jio can provide their service using the network of the Government’s flagship project K-Fon (Kerala Fiber Optic Network).
The project aims not to become an Internet service provider, but to build a strong base of optical fiber networks across the state.
Cable TV operators also have the opportunity to collaborate with K-FON to bring their services to the masses. Providers who are interested to establish a fast network in Kerala can use the KFON network instead of developing a new network.
The government will charge according to the bandwidth used. But the network is not limited to one service provider. Multiple companies can use this facility.
The IT department has clarified that the K-Fon is not a rival to networks like Reliance Jio Fiber. The government’s mission is to provide the infrastructure.
Progress of KFON Project
The first phase of KFON with high-speed Internet access was inaugurated yesterday by Kerala CM. In seven districts, the first phase mainly focuses on the connection to government offices. Kochi Infopark Tapasya has a network control facility (NOC-Network Operations Center).
In the districts of Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kollam, and Thiruvananthapuram, KFON will initially cross 1000 government offices. At 7500 km, the OFC was created.
5,700 government offices will be linked by July. Out of a total of 29,500 offices, 5783 were completed by cabling.
Educational institutions, hospitals, and the Akshaya Center would then be in KFON service. 20 lakh BPL families will be enabled with free internet facilities in the next phase.
On the completion of the first phase, a survey was completed for the optical fiber cable at a distance of 50,000 km. The cable is delivered through KSEB’s substations via electric posts. When the second stage is extended, the length of the cable will increase again.
Now the project is in phase 2. In this phase of the KFON project stringing in 30,000 kM will be completed. Stringing work already finished in more than 7500 kM line.
As mentioned earlier, the survey for the 50,000 km-long Core Network has already been completed. 10,000 government offices are selected for providing internet connection from this project.
The total length of the optical fiber cable installed in Kerala can now only reach less than 30,000 km. This includes 20,000 kilometers of BSNL and 5000 kilometers of Jio.
With the new system, optical fiber cable will be available even in remote areas.
The project is being implemented by a consortium led by Bharat Electronics Limited (Bell), a public sector undertaking under the Defense Department at a cost of Rs 1,531 crore.
KSEB and Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited have formed a joint venture partnership with KSEB for the project.
Frequently Asked Questions
KFON is the government’s largest fiber network set up to deliver high-speed internet to every corner of Kerala. The only goal of the government is to lay the optic fiber cable infrastructure and preserve it. The Internet can be provided by established Internet service providers.KFON is not an Internet Service Provider.
Most Internet service providers use their own fiber-optic network. The installation and maintenance of this network are very expensive.
In addition, almost all major ISPs in Kerala have to pay a huge amount to KSEB and PWD for laying their cables.
Thus, instead of using a separate network, if there is a common fiber-optic infrastructure, any operator can use it by paying a nominal amount. That’s exactly what KFON intended to do.
Most of our readers are interested in KFON broadband plans. Please note that, as we mentioned earlier, KFON is not an ISP and therefore does not have any broadband plans. You can take advantage of any Internet Service Provider’s plan if they are associated with the KFON project.
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(First Published on November 2019)
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