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  Opinion   Edit  07 Jun 2023  AA Edit | Kerala goes for the digital divide

AA Edit | Kerala goes for the digital divide

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jun 8, 2023, 12:20 am IST
Updated : Jun 8, 2023, 12:20 am IST

K-FON project will go a long way in bridging the digital divide and ensure equal opportunity to all citizens

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan
 Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan

The Kerala government’s newly-launched Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) project is yet another episode in the real Kerala story. And it has potential to contribute immensely in the state government’s attempts to help its people thrive.

The project aims at setting up an optic fibre network that will make high speed Internet available to 20 lakh households which fall below the poverty line for free and at a concessional rate to others. It will also connect more than 30,000 government offices and educational institutions including anganvadis. In the first phase, it will connect 14,000 households — a hundred in each of the state’s 140 constituencies.  

A joint venture of the Kerala State Electricity Board Ltd and the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd, the project will make use of the extensive network of the former to reach wired connections to the last household in the state.

The project will go a long way in bridging the digital divide and ensure equal opportunity to all citizens. In 2019, Kerala became the first state in India to declare access to the Internet a human right.  The state government must make sure that the project does not hit administrative hurdles.

This is particularly important, seeing as, earlier, the state made an ambitious start in other technological areas as well — established in 1990 Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram, was the first dedicated IT infrastructure in India. However, the state was unable to cash in on the early momentum and was outdone by its southern neighbours.

Kerala was also the first Indian state to enact a law for land reforms. This revolutionary measure helped two generations of Keralites come out of the clutches of the feudal system and lead a life of dignity. Not many states, excepting West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir, followed this step. In a nation where only one half of the population has access to the Internet, this Kerala story is worth emulating. 

Tags: kerala fibre optic network (k-fon), kerala state electricity board, kerala state information technology infrastructure ltd, thiruvananthapuram