If the goal is truly to usher in and celebrate Digital India, then Kerala just took a huge step towards just that. It has become the first state in the country to make internet access a basic right.
Not only has internet become a basic right for the people living in the state but plans are underway to ensure 20 lakh people, who are from underprivileged backgrounds, get free internet.
Finance Minister of Kerala TM Thomas Isaac announced the landmark initiative recently during the budget session.
The project, which is called Kerala Fibre Optic Network, has been allotted ₹ 1,000 crore by the state to meet its goals.
Image for representation. Photo source
M Sivasankar, secretary, department of electronics and information technology in Kerala, has been quoted in India Times explaining the semantics of K-FON in detail. He says, “The government’s idea will be to deliver internet connectivity with limited bandwidth to individual households through an optic fibre network to be established parallel to the distribution network of the KSEB.”
Kerala now joins the ranks of countries like Finland, France, Costa Rica, Estonia and Greece that have declared the internet as a basic right for their citizens. In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution, which was ratified by 70 countries, declaring internet access a human right.
In case of K-FON, the state government has currently laid out a timeline of 18 months within which they want to create a statewide fibre optic network and make accessibility easier for everybody.
This isn’t the first time Kerala has led the way in laying the groundwork for a more digitally advanced nation. It was the first state in the country to link all its villages with broadband connectivity through National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project back in 2016.
Hopefully it’s not long before this becomes a reality for the rest of India.