Sibal cautions telcos against selective use of NOFN

Puts emphasis on the availability of content for delivering education, health and agricultural related information and services

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Samir Sachdeva | August 29, 2011



Kapil Sibal, union minister for communication and information technology, government of India on Monday cautioned the telecom operators against the “selective use” of the proposed national optical fibre network (NOFN) for pushing their own products and emphasised the need for using the network for societal good.

While delivering the key note address at the curtain raiser ceremony of India Telecom 2011, with the theme ‘m-Powering India’, Sibal said that under NOFN, government would be laying out five lakh kilometers of optical fibre across the country in the next two to three years. Equally important, he pointed out, however, is the availability of content for delivering education, health and agricultural related information and services.

There is a great need for providing agricultural related information to farmers about the crops, right time for harvesting, rain and weather update, among others. “We need to build network for delivering agricultural services in areas where it is need the most,” he opined.

Besides, he also stressed on strengthening and fostering the domestic electronic industry. Presently, only half of the demand of electronics goods is met by the domestic manufacturing industry and rest of it is imported from oversees.  “We need to build those fab, electronic chips, intellectual property and capital in India,” said Sibal, to have a robust and vibrant domestic electronic industry over which the IT and telecommunication revolutions could ride. 

He also said that along with the creation of robust IT and communication infrastructure, it is an imperative to look into issues of individual privacy and national security.

Sachin Pilot, union minister of state for communication and IT, said that in the creation of application and content for mobile devices and for enabling the delivery of various services through mobile phones, the industry and the entrepreneurs have a great role to play.

Milind Deora, union minister of state for communication and IT (telecommunications) said that NOFN would connect 2.5 lakh village panchayats through broadband. Eventually, it is all about empowering individuals to access information and connect with people in their social network.

R Chandrashekhar, secretary, department of telecommunication lamented that though the mobile expansion   has been a leveler in providing voice services in the country, the range of services in value added services (VAS) has been limited.

On the same occasion, Sibal also launched two new products from the telecom centres of excellence (TCOE) based out at IIT Kanpur and IIT Mumbai,  ‘Digital Mandi’ and ‘Mobile Social Networkign Platform’, respectively.

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