The KFON project aims to bridge the digital divide to a large extent by making internet access a basic right to citizens and enable the state government’s vision to provide free internet access to 20 lakh economically backward households. Back in 2016, the Government of Kerala declared the state a digital state and recognize the internet as a basic citizen’s right. Kerala is among the first states in India to do so.
The KFON project, upon implementation, will connect more than 30,000 government offices and educational institutions and equip them with scalable bandwidth from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps on demand.
As important as government offices are the main entry points to the state famous for its migration as well as tourist inflow. Providing high-speed connectivity to seaports and airports as well as increasing the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots will benefit a huge section of people including tourists, business visitors, students and migrant and resident population.
Crime monitoring is hugely reliant on cyber technologies and with demonstrable results too. This applies not just to cybercrimes. High quality video connections for surveillance often prevents or detects crime. Traffic management is efficiently done through intelligent traffic management system and improved parking mechanisms. These are some of the areas where accessible and high-speed internet is certain to benefit Kerala sociologically.
One of the most importance outcomes of the project is the boost that it will bring about in digital infrastructure support for local enterprises and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This will go a long way in the promotion of Electronics and IT industry in the state, apart from fostering entrepreneurship, boosting employment and employee retentivity. The acceleration of the start-up ecosystem and the resultant boost in economic growth is expected to provide a wide array of opportunities for product and service incubators, a boost to the start-up ecosystem in Kerala.
The public is becoming increasingly aware of the advantages of availing government services electronically. There is tangible saving in time, effort and money when applications are made online or telehealth facilities are made use of. Free access to applications/ content like e-learning, e-health hosted at government SDC is a salient feature of KFON. The project will serve as a backbone for the delivery of a host of transformative solutions such as digital commerce, financial inclusion and digital literacy. It is a win-win situation for the government and the people who are the ultimate beneficiaries.
Remote working was earlier mostly confined to telemarketing executives. However recently this is an option identified as feasible by employers for a range of jobs from back-office operations to software programming. The distributed model saves on time-taking travel and associated costs. In fact, it boosts productivity in many IT companies who easily conduct meetings over audio and video conferences. The advent of social media tools makes it easy to seamlessly conduct/ attend them while travelling or being in any part of the model. This is a much-needed extension of the global delivery model already in place in the software industry for three decades. Faster internet speed is the game-changer here as it can lead to quicker turnaround times and deliveries. Add to factors like a vast pool of technical expertise in the state and better service rates, it is a matter of time before Kerala becomes the number one destination beating India’s Silicon Valley Bengaluru as far as customers from around the world are concerned.
Working from home option is especially beneficial for women who often balance the bringing up of infant children with their careers. Kerala has one of the highest women to men ratios in the country. There are 1084 females to 1000 males as per 2011 Census. The benefits that a fast internet will provide to working women therefore needs special mention here.
It goes without saying that business transactions will be far more improved and smoother when done through digitally transformed services. Newer markets will be opened through e-Commerce. Studies say that 175 million Indian consumers are expected to purchase something online this year. The Indian e-Commerce industry will be worth over $ 200 billion by year 2026.