Kerala has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first state in India to offer free internet services. The Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) is a recently launched project by The Kerala government that aims to provide high-speed internet to over 20 lakh BPL families. The aim of this project is to decrease the digital divide in Kerala, making the Internet a basic right for all. The project is well underway, with connectivity provided to 17,412 government offices and more than 7000 households – allowing them to enjoy up to 1.5 GB of data per day at a speed of 15 Mbps.
The first phase of the entire network remains free for households to use. In its second phase, the government intends to generate revenue from this service by leasing out unused fibres.
Apart from households, it aims to extend its coverage to offices, educational institutions, and hospitals as well. Acting as an infrastructure provider, KFON will be shared with all service providers, including cable operators.
The major services include:
- Connectivity for government offices
- Internet leased line
- Home Fibre and Internet Protocol Televison
- Wifi Hotspots
- Cloud Hosting
- Leasing of Dark Fibre
- Colocation of Assets under Network Operating Centres and Point-of-Presences
The first phase was launched on the 5th of June by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. During the event, he also interacted with the beneficiaries of the KFON project. He also stated that this initiative is an alternative against corporate forces in the telecom sector. Another important aspect that the project also considered while launching this initiative is a “digital literacy” program. Not only does the government plan to provide free internet for these BPL families, but they also intend to establish digital literacy among them so that they are well-equipped to access different aspects of the internet service that is provided to them.