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Kerala Govt Gets Into Internet Play, To Provide Free Service To 20-Lakh Economically Backward Households

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued an internet service provider (ISP) Category B licence to Kerala Fibre Optic Network Ltd (KFON). This enables KFON to provide internet services within Kerala. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a Facebook post said that Kerala has become the first state in India to have its own ISP and internet project. Kerala will provide internet services as a basic right to the people. The project announced in 2019 envisages installation of 35,000 km of optical fibre cable (OFC) network across 14 districts in Kerala. Till date 30,000 km of OFC has been laid and connected to 5000 Government offices and 25,000 Government institutions. KFON aims to provide free internet access to 20 lakh economically-backward households. The project also plans to connect government offices, educational institutions, hospitals etc.  KFON will allow telcos and other service providers and community -level networks to offer services to under-served areas. Of the total OFC network, 50% will be leased out to telcos and cable TV operators.  KFON will be able to connect to the nearly 8000 odd mobile towers in Kerala and significantly enhance the mobile call quality and also accelerate the 4G/5G transitions. The project is backed by Kerala State Electricity Board, Bharat Electronics Ltd, Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board and Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd.