Govt mulling Wifi hotspots across 2.5 lakh village panchayats

Govt mulling Wifi hotspots across 2.5 lakh village panchayats

The government is looking to set- up high-speed wireless Internet hotspots using Wifi technology across 2.5 lakh village panchayats, expanding the scope of the ongoing national optical fibre roll out project.

The proposal, in the works at Department of Telecom (DoT), will entail additional expenditure of about Rs 5,000 crore to the Rs 20,000 crore National Optic Fibre Network project, a senior government official told PTI.

"The spend on NOFN is expected to increase to about Rs 25,000 crore. DoT is working to increase the scope of NOFN by providing Wifi hotspots to make broadband affordable for people in around 2.5 lakh village panchayats.

"This project along with depreciation value of rupee is going to add to existing cost," the official said.

The proposal will go for clearance to the inter- ministerial panel Telecom Commission, and after the approval it will be placed before the Cabinet for final nod.

Under the NOFN project, the government plans to provide broadband speed of up to 2 megabit per second on the network.

Users of broadband network with speed of 2 Mbps can download a 600 MB file, equivalent to length of a Bollywood movie, in about 41 minutes.

"Wifi devices also are coming at low cost so this will also resolve issue of affordable devices in rural area," the official said.

The government had approved Rs 20,000 crore for the NOFN project in October 2011. It was expected to be rolled out by the end of 2012, but now the government expects it to be completed in 2014-15.

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