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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NOFN will be implemented in a phased manner.
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.
NOFN is intended as a transport medium to enforce Digital India through delivery of utilities for Panchayats through:
The major challenges while executing NOFN include: