Kerala announces free Internet connections to 20 lakh poor families

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Trivandrum: Finance Minister, Dr. T M Thomas Isaac today announced free Internet connection to 20 lakh poor families in the State and the launch of Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) in his Budget speech for the financial year 2017-18.

Excerpts from the Budget speech:

Free internet connections will be provided to 20 lakh poor families. For others, internet service will be provided at a lower rate. Sir, thus Kerala is poised to become one of the rare regime where internet facility will be the right of a citizen. This will provide hindrance free access to Government and non-Government services, educational, health, social welfare, entertainment and knowledge based service facilities to common people through computer and mobile phone.

It will be a decisive step towards eliminating the digital divide. It is estimated that by 2017-18 almost all Government transactions will become IT based. Thus, the right for basic internet facility will become a prerequisite for providing civic services universally through electronic medium.

The universal basic internet facility will be made available to all citizens and Government machinery through a new optic fibre pathway created in parallel to KSEB electric power network. This network can be made available to each home through KSEB. It is aimed to complete the network to be named K-FON within 18 months. Rs. 1000 crore needed for the capital investment will be provided through KIIFB.

WiFi transmission centres will be established at Akshaya Centres, Friends Janasevana Kendras, Government offices, libraries, and public places under the control of Government. Basic internet facility will be provided to people free of cost for a specific period using mobile and computer equipment through K-FON.

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