- Why KFON?
The Government of Kerala assessed the existing network infrastructure available with the government as well as service providers in the state to see the suitability and preparedness for the upcoming bandwidth requirements in the state. These were the major findings.
- There is limited fibre infrastructure with existing TELCOs in the rural areas due to low business potential, high CAPEX and stringent RoW conditions.
- High-speed wireless connectivity (3G/4G) is limited in rural areas as TELCOs need to set up more towers to provide such services. Moreover, the majority of the existing base stations/telecom towers are connected wireless, thereby limiting the bandwidth that can be provided.
- The existing connectivity through Kerala State Wide Area Network (KSWAN) is limited to 3,800 government offices and is highly dependent on service providers.
- Current infrastructure is not adequate to connect the government institutions.
Due to the reasons stated above, the Kerala Govt decided to build Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON), a state-wide optical fiber network capable of efficient service delivery, assured Quality of Service (QoS), reliability, interoperability, redundancy, security and which is scalable for meeting future bandwidth demands.
- How many government institutions will be connected using KFON?
- How will the last mile connectivity be obtained? Will KFON do the cabling till the Government offices and residences of the beneficiaries? If not, who will do that?
Cabling to Government offices will be done by KFON. Other beneficiaries will have to rely on the local ISPs for the last mile connectivity.
- Is it true that by using KFON network, mobile service providers will be able to expand their network to rural areas and that it would be cheaper for the providers?
Yes. Otherwise, mobile service providers will have to lay their own fibre cables.
- Can communities use KFON to build an intranet?
Yes, they can. As we move into the concept of free internet for citizens, more and more communities can set up safe community networks that can tap into the KFON network.
- Is it fair to assume that since all Government offices will be linked to KFON, the Kerala Government can develop an intranet and thereby reduce the pay-out for the internet? Is such a move planned?
Yes. Also, with such an intranet in place, there will not be any need of internet for accessing applications/content like e-learning, e-health hosted at government SDC.
- Will the Government of Kerala become an ISP?
No, there is no such plan right now. KFON will act as an infrastructure provider. However, the services to citizens/households will have to be provided by service providers.
- When most of the ISPS use the KFON network, in case of a cable cuts (very likely due to accidents as cables are fixed to electric posts) won’t there be an internet outage? Won’t this affect important areas like telemedicine, treasury and banking?
KFON’s backbone uses a ring architecture and protects the network from fibre cuts. So essential services will work uninterrupted.
- Which agency is implementing KFON network?
Bharat Electronics Limited which is a Central Government PSU is leading a consortium consisting of BEL, RailTel, SRIT & LS Cables and Systems for implementing KFON.
- Who is the consultant for KFON project?
- Will local cable operators be considered for the KFON project?
KFON will only provide the infrastructure. The services will be provided by service providers including cable operators. The KFON infrastructure will be shared with all service providers on non-discriminatory basis.
- What will be the criteria for getting free internet connectivity?
The criterion for getting free internet connectivity is economic backwardness.
- How will the criteria for free internet connectivity be decided?
The eligibility for free internet is still being defined based on the Antyodaya lists and the BPL cards.
- How will the free internet connectivity be given?
Free connectivity to economically backward households will be provided by KFON through a selected service provider in your area.
- When will economically backward households get free internet connectivity?
Once KFON implementation is done. It is progress, though subject to movement restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The implementation is expected to be completed in 2021.
- Who will lay fiber cable to homes?
The local ISP/TSP/cable TV providers will lay the cable to homes.
- Who will provide internet connectivity to households?
Household connectivity will be provided by local ISP/TSP/cable TV providers.
- How to apply for KFON connection at homes?
KFON will not provide any household connectivity.
- When will KFON reach all the rural areas of the state?
KFON will be available in all the rural areas once the implementation is over this year.
- Will content providers like Netflix/Amazon/Sony be able to use KFON?
KFON is envisioned as a neutral network. Any ISP will be able to tap into it by paying a subscription to KFON. Content providers like Netflix/Amazon/Sony can also tap into this network.
- How will KFON help in getting better mobile phone quality?
KFON will be able to connect to the nearly 8000+ mobile towers in Kerala and significantly enhance the mobile call quality and also accelerate the 4G/5G transitions. Presently 80% of the towers are not fiberized and uses radio, an issue for the 4G/5G rollout, which will also be solved by KFON.
- Will KFON help in the growth of data centers?
With KFON in place, Kerala will be home to more data centers since the state will now have stable power and internet.
- How beneficial is KFON to working in the COVID-19 context?
The pandemic has globally necessitated Working from Home/ Working near Home options. A stable internet backbone such as KFON will attract more people and companies to operate from the state. It will help promote teleworking.
- What is the role of KSEB in the KFON project?
KSEB provided the distribution network for laying the cable. Bandwidth will be shared with KSEB for their data center requirements.
- How does KESB benefit from the KFON project?
KFON implementation will bring the following benefits to KSEB.
- Free Fibre Connectivity to KSEBL offices across the state
- Dedicated Fibre allocated in core and access networks of KFON for the upcoming requirements of KSEBL like Smart Metering.
- Revenue from Pole Rental charges will increase since KFON will use 70 to 80% of KSEB poles. The profit share of KSEB is 40%.
- No liability on KSEBL for the borrowed capital.
- Are inbuilt redundancy measures incorporated in the KFON project?
Yes, there is equipment-level protection.
- How will redundancy external to KFON be possible for important institutions if all ISPs use the KFON network?
Lease line protection can be ensured up to spur redundant paths in KFON through dual-route configuration. However, in an access network (last-mile connectivity) it is better to have redundant ISP connections.
- How will KFON help new entrepreneurs?
KFON will accelerate the start-up ecosystem in Kerala, thereby boosting economic growth in the state. This will provide a wide array of opportunities for product and service incubators.