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Please click here to download - CII

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5 | Creating viable

5 | Creating viable business models for inclusive growth through the National Optical Fiber Network As of April 2013, twenty two states and 4 Union Territories had signed tripartite agreements for Right of Way with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and BBNL 9 . BBNL has already embarked upon pilot projects to test feasibility in different geographical regions. The NOFN project will build a strong middle-mile, but to build sustainable business models around relevant e-services for the rural masses, there is a need to deliberate on the core and the last mile. • Future-proofing the core: NOFN would enable access to and usage of several e-services such as healthcare, education, financial services, agriculture, e-governance and entertainment. The planned provisioning of 100 Mbps bandwidth through NOFN at the Gram Panchayat level translates into demand of 60 Gbps (average demand assuming 10 percent concurrency) per State Head Quarter. Further, as per Cisco estimates, data growth is expected to increase around five times over a five year period. Current core capacities of service providers may not be adequate to cater to this demand. A parallel upgrade of core capacities may therefore, be considered along with NOFN rollout. • Clarity around the last mile: While NOFN is a commendable step in bridging the urbanrural divide in broadband penetration, last mile access would be critical for realizing the policy objectives of inclusion and universal access. As we explore viable business models for rural e-services, the critical need for the last mile becomes apparent. Middle mile fiber layout enables affordable delivery of critical services at the Panchayat level through community-based service provisioning. However, efficient and viable delivery of certain community services would require extending connectivity to the last mile (for example, school premises in the case of education). Extending the last mile access to individual households would prove conducive to awareness and uptake, as rural users get accustomed to electronic delivery of essential services. This would require collaboration between the Government and private sector enterprises to work out strategies that make the proposition viable for all stakeholders. 9 CIOL Interview with Mr. N. Ravi Shankar, Chairman & MD, BBNL, published on ciol.com May 14, 2013

Creating viable business models for inclusive growth through the National Optical Fiber Network | 6 Emerging Opportunity Areas and Ecosystems Research conducted on thirty three OECD countries estimates that doubling the broadband speed increases GDP of an economy by 0.3 percent 10 . The NOFN, with its promise of speed up to 100 Mbps, has significant potential to deliver rural empowerment, particularly in key sectors such as education, healthcare, banking, and agriculture. Table 3: The NOFN value proposition for key sectors Education Current state • In many states in India, the teacher-to-pupil ratio in government-run rural schools is lower than the RTE-mandated 1:40 11 • Only 32 percent of Standard III students in Government schools can read Standard I text Connected services that will be useful • Remote tuitions, information on schools and universities • Vocational training courses delivered online Potential benefits • Access to quality education and skilled teachers based in urban centers • Skill development and placement assistance for rural youth 10 Ericsson, September 2011 11 NCERT, ‘Indian Educational Review’, July 2011