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India is preparing to deploy a fiber network across the entire country

By Donna Donnowitz
August 1, 2011
In a recent statement, Shri Kapil Sibal, India's minister of communication and information technology announced that the Telecom Commission wants to build a network across India called the National Optical Fiber Network. This network will extend India’s existing fiber optic network from the district level to the village level, or gram panchayat level.

According to Sibel, "the proposed NOFN will enable effective and faster implementation of various mission mode e-governance projects amounting to approx 500 billion Indian rupee (US$11.25 billion) initiated by Department of Information Technology as well as delivery of a whole range of electronic services in the above areas by the private sector to citizen in rural areas."

In April, the Indian government announced that, in addition to growing wired networks, India plans to support mobile broadband technology in the nation. India plans to grow to 160 million broadband connections in the next three years.
The first phase of the fiber program is estimated to cost 200 billion Indian rupee (U.S.$4.5 billion). This phase will be bankrolled by the Universal Service Obligation Fund. The private sector will probably contribute similar investments in order to improve the Indian infrastructure and to provide services to the Indian people, said Sibal.

Sibal said that that the fiber optic network will grow the Indian economy by providing jobs. In addition to business benefits, Sibal said that the new fiber network will help drive Indian government programs like e-health, e-banking, e-education and more.
India is not the only nation in the eastern hemisphere with large fiber ambitions. According to an Ovum report, the fiber optic broadband market could be dominated by the Chinese by the year 2016. Most of this growth can be attributed to the enormous size of the Chinese population.

According to Ovum principal analyst and co-author of the report Julie Kunstler, “China is the biggest consumer of FTTx equipment right now and that is set to continue. A key driver of the enormous forecasted growth is the bandwidth and subscriber targets set by the Chinese government and service providers. In addition, the government is providing support for deployments in the form of credit and partnerships. Meanwhile, the significant greenfield construction projects that are under way in the country make the installation of FTTx networks easier.”


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