The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressing the Nation on the occasion of 74th Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort, in Delhi on August 15, 2020.

PM’s promise: Six lakh Indian villages to be connected with optical fibre cable in 1000 days

A bold mission by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been unveiled. A plan that empowers India’s villages to progress digitally and be connected, erasing the existing urban and rural divide.

During the 74th Independence Day speech delivered from the ramparts of the Red Fort, PM Modi said, “In the coming 1000 days, every village in the country will be connected with optical fibre cable.”

The Prime Minister recalled that before 2014, only 5 dozen panchayats in the country were connected with optical fiber cable.

In the last five years, nearly 1.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country have been connected with optical fiber cable.

He further added that the participation of rural India and villages in Digital India is very important for a balanced development of India.

To enable this India will work to rapidly expand its optical fibre network. This will reach all the 6 lakh villages within 1,000 days.

Expressing his gratitude to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this important announcement, Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Union Minister for Electronics & IT and Communications tweeted, “Today you have entrusted Department of Telecommunications with the responsibility to connect all the villages of India by optical fibre Internet in 1000 days. It’s a game-changer for Digital India. With your inspiration, we will do it.”

PM also announced that in the next 1000 days, Lakshadweep will be connected with submarine optical fiber cable. Last week, the islands of Andaman & Nicobar received the submarine optical fiber cable. PM Modi inaugurated the first-ever undersea optic fiber link between Chennai and Andaman and Nicobar to ensure high-speed broadband connectivity for the Union Territory (UT) at par with services in the cities like Delhi and Chennai.

“We have around 1,300 islands. Keeping in mind their geographical location and their significance in the development of the nation, work to begin new projects in some of these islands is underway. We have chosen some islands for rapid development. Recently, we connected Andaman and Nicobar Islands with an undersea cable for a better internet. Next, we will connect Lakshadweep,” he said while delivering his Independence Day speech from the iconic Red Fort.

While commenting on the announcement for high-speed Internet services in Lakshadweep Islands, Minister Prasad said in a tweet that the Prime Minister has set a target of 1000 days to provide submarine optical fiber connectivity to these islands.

Like linking Andaman & Nicobar islands Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications will fast track this as well.

OFC connectivity to the villages and submarine OFC to the Lakshadeep islands will help the people in rural areas/villages and those in Lakshadweep islands in getting cheaper & better connectivity and all the benefits of Digital India, especially in improving online education, telemedicine, banking system, online trading, boosting tourism and skill development, etc.

Commenting on PM’s plan, Anand Agarwal, Group CEO, STL, said, “The government’s initiative of strengthening rural digital infrastructure with optical fiber will help bridge the rural-urban divide. It’s the right time to do it as the shift to digital becomes permanent. It will enable access to essential applications like e-education, e-health, and e-governance. As rural India becomes informed and educated, more jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities will get created. All of it will lead to economic growth and development in the region. STL has been collaborating with both state and central governments on various rural connectivity initiatives like BharatNet, Mahanet, and our own Garv rural development initiative. Over the last 25 years, we have connected India by designing, developing, and delivering world-class optical fiber. We continue to be a trusted technology partner to the government for realizing the vision of a unified digital India.”

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