Over one crore households in Andhra Pradesh, 50,000 schools and educational institutions, all government offices in the districts, over 5,000 government hospitals and health centres and all panchayat offices will get access to high-speed internet and rent-free telephone and cable TV services from next December as part of the AP Fibre Grid Project.
Inaugurating the ambitious project at an event in Amaravati, President Ram Nath Kovind dedicated it to the nation.
The Andhra Pradesh State Fibernet Limited (APSFL), which is implementing the AP Fibre Grid project, will provide the three services at tariffs starting as low as Rs 149 for 5 GB data at 15 MBPS speed and 250 TV channels and a free telephone connection. While there are two other plans of Rs 399 and Rs 599 for households, for private offices and institutions, the plans start at Rs 999 for 50 GB at 100 MBPS and Rs 2499 for 250 GB.
Under the project, the APSFL, which has now become the largest state government-owned telecommunication company in the country, has already laid over 23,000 kms of the total 55,000 kms long Optical Fibre Cable in the 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh. While the first phase targets households, in the second phase the project envisages rolling out the services for all the 9000-gram panchayats from mandal headquarters, which are already connected through the BSNL network. Horizontal connectivity from gram panchayats to schools and other educational institutions, primary health centres and government offices will be given through WIFI.
The fibre optic grid is one of the five grids being established by the AP Government; the four others are Water Grid, Gas Grid, Power Grid, and Road Grid. Internet connectivity in every nook and corner of the state will help in improving citizen services, digital literacy and skill development, and help in good governance, besides helping IT Enabled Services to set up BPOs or call centres in rural areas. The fibre grid will also offer services like video-conferencing and movies on demand. The 16-district command control centres, all public CCTVs, the AP State Wide Area Network will be integrated into the grid.
“In a 24×7 hyper-connected world, governments and administrations cannot afford to be reactive. They must be online, on-time and on the ball. Technology is the enabler that allows this,” the President said in his address after inaugurating the project at the Secretariat here.
Shri Kovind was also all praise for the AP’s Real-Time Governance (RTG) Centre which, he said, was the biggest in Asia. “RTG is virtually a state secretariat in Cyberspace providing several services to its citizens. All this is only an appetiser. When the state capital Amaravati is fully constructed, it is expected to be the most technologically-compatible city in India. If I could put it so, it is expected to be India’s leading Technopolis,” the President said.
Again, this is a model for other states to follow,” he added. Observing that the projects he launched today were a build up to what Amaravati and Andhra Pradesh would represent, Shri Kovind said, “AP people and people of India were looking forward to that”. “After all, they have come to expect nothing but a quest for excellence from Shri Chandrababu Naidu.
Shri Ram Nath Kovind praised Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu saying “Andhra Pradesh lived up to its reputation as innovator of technology adoption. The project would go a long way in realising the dream of Digital AP within the wider framework of Digital India and, of course, the Government of India’s BharatNet project that is taking broadband connectivity to every gram panchayat.
Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu expressed his happiness that his dream of providing internet, television and telephone services to the common man at a very nominal price is being realized.
Nara Lokesh, Information Technology Minister today said that the fibre grid must be put to full utilization in sectors like education, telemedicine, e-governance, agriculture, rural development, and e-commerce.
Governor E S L Narasimhan, Supreme Court Judge N V Ramana, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Y S Chowdary, Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, ministers and top bureaucrats attended the event.