New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS) Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Friday said the government will lay around 7 lakh km of optical fibre cable (OFC) to connect village panchayats with broadband by 2016.
"We are laying down optical fibre in all gram panchayats. The prime minister is very keen on this project. We have to lay 7 lakh kilometre of OFC. We have got about a million kilometre done in the last 25 years," said Prasad while speaking at an event organised by Chase India, a consulting firm specialising in public policy and government affairs.
Under the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) programme, the government has a target to take broadband services to 2.5 lakh village panchayats by March 2017.
The government has decided to reach 50,000 gram panchayats this year, one lakh next year and another one lakh panchayats a year after.
The spread of broadband is an important tool to achieve the Narendra Modi government's envisaged Digital India programme for the country.
Earlier, Prasad said NOFN will lead to an empowered India with villages getting on to the internet superway. It will also lead to an explosion of e-commerce in the country.