Pinarayi Vijayan Launches Kerala's KFON Project to Ensure 'Internet as a Basic Right'

KFON connections, the chief minister said, have been given to 17,412 government offices and 2,105 households.

New Delhi: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the state government’s Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) project on Monday (June 5). The network aims to provide free internet connections to 20 lakh below poverty line families.

“The state is implementing KFON to ensure that the internet as a basic right does not remain on paper. The state is now providing basic infrastructure to take high-speed internet to all people,” Vijayan said at the launch.

KFON connections, the chief minister said, have been given to 17,412 government offices and 2,105 households. A cable network has already been laid to ensure connection for 9,000 houses, The Indian Express reported.

The fibre optic network, he said, would help young people participate in jobs that may not be physically accessible to them. “Work from home, work near home and work away from home have gained popularity. If our youths have to benefit from these emerging working styles, there should be better internet connectivity across the state. The KFON is meant to ensure that facility,” he said.

This Rs 1,548-crore project has been in the works since November 2019, when the state government announced that internet connectivity would be treated as a basic right. The COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world soon after only exacerbated the need to bridge the digital divide.

The free connections, according to The Hindu, is just one part of this ambitious project, and the rest of it will be monetised. In the first phase, however, the focus is on reaching BPL families who will be provided connections for free. Each household will get 1.5 GB of data per day at 15 mbps speed, The Hindu reported.

“The availability of the Internet in places where it was hitherto hard to access is being projected as one of the achievements of KFON with the possible added advantages to education, skill development, and business opportunities. The government has also begun a digital literacy campaign at the grassroots through various local bodies to ensure that everyone is equipped to access basic services through the Internet,” another report on The Hindu stated.