India pushes ahead with slimmed-down fibre rollout

Announces states to receive first fibre-to-the-village builds

India is pushing ahead with the Modi government's fibre vision, under which 20,000 rural villages will get fibre backhaul by December 2016.

The country's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) says villages in the southern state of Kerala, Karnataka on the west coast, and Seemandhra on the Bay of Bengal will be the first recipients.

The government has had to soft-pedal somewhat on the speed of the rollout: its original plan had called for 60,000 villages by March 2016. However, DNA India quotes communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad as saying work is now progressing well.

To help accelerate the project, Times of India says the original plan to take the fibre to Gram Panchayat (local assembly) buildings in towns may be revised.

The DoT says it's been told that many Gram Panchayat buildings “are not in good condition or not available for the project and lack electricity supply”.

As an alternative, the department suggests terminating the village fibre to other public buildings such as post office, railway stations and schools.

The report says the DoT has also had to warn local public officials not to get in the way of the rollout, saying there could be action against officials delaying decisions about the rollout. ®

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