On 9 March 2015, Telecom Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “A lot of Cable operators have shown interest in providing broadband connectivity to consumers by tweaking technology (a move that will increase Internet penetration) in the country.”
The Department of Telecom (DoT) is exploring the idea of last mile connectivity of cable operators and multiple system operators to provide broadband connectivity.
The Minister stated earlier that under National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project, the government is ready to use satellite technology, drones or special balloons for providing broadband connectivity to all the Gram Panchayats. The aim of the project is to provide basic infrastructure for Digital India programme. Its aim is to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats by December 2016 and its estimated cost is around Rs. 30,000 crore.
The aim of Digital India programme is to bridge the gap between the people having digital broadband connection and the people not having digital broadband connection. This programme is focused on poor people.
The government has set a target of rolling out optical fibre network across 50,000 village panchayats by the end of this financial year, one lakh by March 2016 and another one lakh by end of 2016.
Cable Operators Federation of India had suggested the telecom Ministry to use rural Cable Operators to bridge the gap.