KFON launch on Monday; download app to access free high-speed internet

The project aims to provide internet connection to 20 lakh poor families in the state for free and to others at affordable rates. Photo: Manorama Online

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government’s dream project Kerala Fiber Optic Network (KFON) will be commissioned on Monday six years after it was announced, but the objective of providing free internet connection to 14,000 families in the first phase appears to be a daunting task.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will officially inaugurate the project at the Sankaranarayanan Thampi Hall of the Legislative Assembly at 4 pm.

The project aims to provide internet connection to 20 lakh poor families in the state for free and to others at affordable rates. Besides, internet connectivity would be extended to 30,000 government institutions, including schools, hospitals, and offices.

Connection via app
Following its scheduled launch on Monday, the KFON app will be made available on the Google Play Store and App Store. To avail of a new internet connection, one has to install the app, select the ‘new customer’ option and fill in the required details to register. They will be soon contacted by the Business Support Centre and local network providers will be entrusted to provide the connection.

Only 1,000 families get internet connection so far

While it was conceived with the promise of including 20 lakh beneficiaries, the target of providing free internet connection was revised to 14,000 households in the first phase, with 100 houses in each of the 140 Assembly constituencies. But even this seems to be far-stretched as the cables have been laid, covering only 7,000 houses so far and connections provided only to 1,000 of them.

Similarly, out of the targeted 30,000 government offices, infrastructure facilities have been laid only in 26,492 offices till now and the connection provided to 17,354 out of them.

The KFON has installed an IT infrastructure capable of setting up 40 lakh internet connections across the state. Consumers can access internet services at a speed of 20 Mbps. Dr Santosh Babu, the Managing Director of the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL), said the implementing agency will start issuing commercial connections within three months.

KFON Brain’ in Kochi
The Network Operating Centre, which can be described as the brain of the KFON project, is located at Infopark, Kochi. One sub-station of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), in each district, called Point of Presence (PoP) will be connected to the network.

Under the project jointly implemented by the KSITIL and the KSEB at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore, 2,000 free Wi-Fi spots for public use is also being extended besides providing Wi-Fi networks free of cost or at a fair price for those arriving at government offices for availing various services.

The KFON has also engaged Bangalore-based SRIT as the Managed Service Provider (MSP) on a commission basis to market and find business.  

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