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 12 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 underway in Korea. The imported equipment will be used for the project only after inspection by government-appointed experts. The control room of the project will be started in Alappuzha or Kochi by December 2019.
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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. Fiber optic cables are expected to be built in South Korea. It is expected to provide the connection by 2020.
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, Idea, 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.
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Cable TV operators also have the opportunity to collaborate with K-Fone 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
On the completion of the first phase, a survey 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 commenced in the 11kM pilot line.
This 11kM pilot line starts from the KSEB substation, Paruthippara, Thiruvananthapuram, and ends at state data center Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram.
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.
It is expected to complete 10,000 km Optical Fiber Cable laying by March 2020 and the next 30,000 km by June 2020.
The project is expected to be completed by next year. Even the private company that installed the largest optical fiber cable in Kerala is now able to reach 30,000 km. 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.