24th September, 2018

Frequently asked questions about National Optical Fibre

National Optical Fibre Network Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)?

National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) is a pan-India connectivity project to provide high speed broadband connectivity to over 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats and thereby digitally link 600 million rural citizens of the country.

2) How will the project provide broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats?

The project will utilize the existing optical fibre network of Central Utilities (BSNL, RailTel and Power Grid) and lay new incremental optical fibre cable to extend it to the Gram Panchayats.

3) How much incremental fibre is to be laid out as part of NOFN?

NOFN will lay out an estimated incremental optical fibre network of 2.4 km per Gram Panchayat. Thus, a total of 6 lakh kms of OFC are likely to be laid under NOFN.

4) What is the cost of the project and who will provide the funding?

NOFN will require an initial cost of Rs. 20,000 Crore which will be funded by the Universal Broadband Network Limited (USOF), Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India.

5) Who is responsible for implementing the project?

The project is being managed, operated and executed by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL). BBNL is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in 2012 to provide non-discriminatory access to bandwidth to all eligible service providers to enable them to provide services in rural areas.

6) What are the different technologies being used under NOFN project?

The project will be centrally managed by BBNL through a high capacity Network Management System being developed by C-DOT. NOFN uses Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology designed and developed indigenously. For connectivity, optical line terminal (OLT) is placed at BSNL telephone exchange in block headquarters which is connected to optical network terminal (ONT) at Gram Panchayats through optical fibre cables.

GPON uses passive optical splitters which lowers the cost of components and also lowers the power consumption.

7) What is the implementation status of NOFN project?

NOFN will be implemented in a phased manner.

  • Phase 1 aims to connect 1 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) with broadband connectivity by laying optical fibre cables by March 2017.
  • Phase 2 aims to connect all 2.5 lakh GPs using an optical mix of underground fibre, fibre over power lines, radio and satellite media to be completed by October 2018.
  • Phase 3 will aim to create a futuristic network with ring topology to be used between districts/blocks and GPs.
  • For a summary of the current status of NOFN project, please visit http://www.bbnl.nic.in/index1.aspx?lsid=570&lev=2&lid=467&langid=1.

8) What are the intended benefits of NOFN project?

As an integral part of Digital India initiative, NOFN will transform lives of citizens by bridging the digital divide in India by linking all villages through broadband connectivity. Such connectivity will foster socio-economic development and build an inclusive and digitally empowered society. It will help in overcoming developmental challenges in rural areas by providing e-governance services, e-medicine, e-education, banking services, agricultural services, e-commerce and e-entertainment.

9) How will the infrastructure created by NOFN enable Panchayats to function better?

NOFN is intended as a transport medium to enforce Digital India through delivery of utilities for Panchayats through:

  • Panchayat management: maintenance of village records, updating of citizen databases, effective performance monitoring of Panchayats;
  • community participation: sharing of practices and resource communication with blocks and districts;
  • rapid knowledge dissemination: sharing of agricultural practices, productivity techniques, small enterprises, and vocational learning;
  • Delivery of citizen services: better delivery of services including health, education and finance, etc., better government to citizen interaction and effective redressal of grievances;
  • Development planning: road, transportation and power connectivity; knowledge connectivity in the form of good educational & training institutions, market connectivity for farmers.

10) What are the major challenges faced during project execution?

The major challenges while executing NOFN include:

  • Right of Way permission mainly from Forest Department, Railways for railway crossing and National Highways Authority of India
  • Speed of execution
  • Availability of PLB ducts
  • Infrastructure support at Gram Panchayats in form of protected space, power supply
  • Low purchasing power in rural areas may put pressure on revenues