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Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) Scheme 2024 Apply Online at kfon.kerala.gov.in | Free Internet to 20 Lakh BPL Families

Kerala government has rolled out Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) Scheme portal at kfon.kerala.gov.in. Under this K-FON project 2024, the state govt. to provide free internet to below poverty line (BPL) families. Read this article till the end to know complete details about K-FON scheme.

In the Kerala Budget 2023-2024, an amount of Rs. 100 crore has been earmarked for Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) project. An amount of Rs. 2 crore is earmarked for providing free household internet connection under K-FON project to 70,000 eligible BPL families. For this, 500 families will be identified in each Legislative Constituency.

The Kerala Fibre Optic Network Scheme (K-FON) is a first of its kind initiative in the entire Indian nation. The state will be the first to provide high speed internet connection absolutely free of cost. Moreover, those families who does not fall in BPL category will get Net connectivity at affordable rates. 
Despite delay due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak, Kerala govt. is still implementing the K-FON project. 

Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) Scheme 

The state govt. has started Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) Scheme to provide free access to high speed internet connection to BPL households. In addition to this, Non-BPL families will get internet connectivity at affordable prices. All the licenced internet service providers (ISPs) and cable TV operators can utilize Fibre Optic Network to provide services to its citizens. 

Background of Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON)

Kerala has had a transformative journey since its venture into digitalization in the 2000s. With the penetration of internet technology and rising levels of e-literacy, it became imperative for the Government to adopt the e-delivery mode of information and services to its citizens. 

From government service dissemination centres like FRIENDS in the 2000s to Service and Payroll Administrative Repository for Kerala (SPARK), e-Health, e-Office, e-Procurement, CCTNS, e-District, SDPK, etc. in 2024, the demand continues to grow for e-Governance services that impact the lives of the common man. The state has been a pioneer in the country in making investments towards building core digital infrastructure to deliver e-Governance services.

KSWAN and Beyond

With major government processes digitalized, the State Data Centre (SDC) is the first of its kind in the country dedicated for hosting e-Governance applications only. i.e., all government institutions across the State access the SDC to run their routine operations. Kerala State Wide Area Network (KSWAN) is the main network infrastructure for e-governance in the state. However, the existing connectivity through KSWAN is limited to about 3,800 government offices for delivery of e-Gov services. 

This infrastructure utilizes bandwidth provided by the Service Providers in lieu of the RoW provided to them by the Government. There are no defined SLAs for such bandwidth provisioned and hence the Government has very little control in ensuring a reliable, robust and secure network. 

Most of the end institutions are connected over wireless through KSWAN and a few through wired media. The remaining institutions, which are not covered under KSWAN, have leased internet bandwidth from service providers to access the applications hosted in SDC. 

KSWAN is limited by access, capacity and scalability, to cater to 30,000+ government institutions in the state. Therefore, the Government felt the need to build a dedicated optical fibre backbone capable of efficient service delivery, assured Quality of Service (QoS), reliability, redundancy, security and scalable in nature for meeting future bandwidth demands.

As far as the network infrastructure of the TELCOs in the state is concerned, their fibre infrastructure in the rural areas is limited. This is due to high CAPEX and stringent RoW conditions. Hence, high-speed wireless connectivity (3G/4G) is limited in rural areas as TELCOs need to set up more towers to provide such services. Moreover, the majority of the existing telecom towers are connected via wireless which limits the bandwidth that can be provided to the public.

Need for Better Bandwidth in Kerala

The state witnessed a frenetic pace in adopting smarter solutions such as
  • video conferencing, video surveillance, smart traffic management, telemedicine, smart classrooms/e-education, e-Courts, smart meters and asset tracking
  • related responsible technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Storage, Internet of Things, Machine-to-Machine (M2M)
  • rise in mobility including multiple device ownerships
  • growth in the number of internet users.
All these are major contributing factors to the incessantly growing bandwidth demands. SD/HD/UHD video-based services are set to increase at unprecedented rates and will have a more pronounced/multiplier effect on the bandwidth demand. To cater to these demands, investment is required in fibre and faster electronics. As the technology up-gradation and adoption gathered pace, the gap between the digital haves and have-nots was more glaring. 

It is in this context that in the state budget speech 2017, the honourable Finance Minister announced that free internet connections will be provided to economically backward families and subsidized internet for others. On a social front, the government recognized the need for internet access for all of its citizens in a digital society and declared "Internet as a basic right".

Meanwhile, KSEBL decided to undertake the Reliable Communication & Data Acquisition Network (RCDAN) project utilizing the Power System Development Fund (PSDF) under the mandate of the Ministry of Power. The project involves laying optical fibre cable over EHT lines connecting their substations to help improve their grid communication, remote management of its safety and security.

Thus, the Government of Kerala decided to implement the project utilizing KSEBL infrastructure to set up the network infrastructure by leveraging its transmission and distribution networks and making both KSITIL and KSEBL equal partners in the joint venture for the project called Kerala Fibre Optic Network Ltd (KFON Ltd). This removed the hassles of getting RoW permissions. By adopting an aerial mode of laying, the project would be completed on a mission mode. The commendable pace at which KSEBL restored the electricity network which got damaged during the 2018 floods is a testimony to this fact.

Objectives of KFON

KFON is an audacious project of the Government aiming to obviate the digital divide. This project is to be a complementary infrastructure to the existing telecom ecosystem in the State. KFON is based on the principles of non-discriminatory treatment, as per the recommendations of TRAI, i.e., without any preferential treatment to any service provider or business segment. It essentially acts as an information super-highway through the creation of a robust core and middle-mile infrastructure. 

This network can be leveraged by any provider at any level of the business segment - TSP/ISP/MSO/LCO - to augment their connectivity gaps at their core network without the burden of stringent RoW and intensive CAPEX requirements. The networks created by these operators at the community level can then connect to KFON and deliver access and services to underserved areas that may otherwise be financially unattractive for mainstream providers. 

In due course, this model can lead the market forces to act and increase competition in providing better connectivity services to the citizens. The government can even explore delivering e-Governance services to citizens through such networks.
Thus, the KFON network will function as a strong foundation for all G2G, G2C, B2C interactions. The major objectives of KFON are the following.
  • Create a core network infrastructure (information highway) with non-discriminatory access to all service providers so as they can augment their connectivity gap.
  • Provide a reliable, secure and scalable intranet connecting all government offices, educational institutions, hospitals, etc.
  • Partner with MSOs, TSPs, ISPs for providing free internet to economically backward households.

Implementation of K-FON Project

To achieve these objectives and streamline the implementation of the project, it has been structured to be completed as two tracks:
  • Track 1: Setting up of a state-wide core optical fibre network and providing connectivity to 30,000+ government institutions.
  • Track 2: Provide free internet to economically backward families and subsidized internet for others by leveraging KFON Infrastructure

Benefits of KFON

KFON will complement the existing telecom ecosystem in the state and will act as the perfect catalyst positioning Kerala as a Gigabit Economy. The following are some of the multiple benefits to be realized across the board.
  • Bridge the digital divide by making internet access a basic right to citizens and enable the state government’s vision to provide free internet access to economically backward households.
  • Deliver e-Governance to citizens through TSPs/ISPs/Cable operators by leveraging this network.
  • Provide affordable and better broadband connectivity to households by the TSPs/ISPs/Cable operators due to a competitive market by leveraging this network.
  • Boose economic growth by providing digital infrastructure support for local enterprises and SMEs and promoting Electronics and IT industry.

Human Capital Development

  • Deliver remote education
  • Create job opportunities
  • Enhance skills
  • Prove remote healthcare access

Infrastructure development

  • Smart cities/ smart grids
  • Transportation management
  • Community Connect - Smart Village


  • Sharing information and best practices (financial services, e-governance, agricultural techniques)
  • Entertainment (IPTV, OTT, etc.)
  • Innovation
  • Creating connected communities (researchers, product development, anytime anywhere/ anytime collaboration)

Significance of K-FON Project (Salient Features)

Kerala CM mentioned that K-FON project will be of immense benefit for the state. It would bring internet connectivity to hospitals, schools, government officers, and other institutions. This K-FON Scheme would open the possibility for Kerala to take a giant leap in the IT sector by the following ways:-
  • K-FON scheme will provide major gains in the Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things and startup domains sectors.
  • Around 30,000 govt. offices and educational institutions would be linked through the high speed network. 
  • K-FON project will give a push to the digitalisation of government services like the e-health programme. 
  • IT parks, airports and seaports would also be benefited from the linkage.
  • Several small scale enterprises which makes use of e-commerce platforms stand to gain from K-FON Scheme. 
  • High quality video conferencing and transport management are other significant advantages of this scheme. 
  • The K-Fon fibre optic network will also link all mobile towers in the State for better mobile Internet services.
The state govt. of Kerala will partner with leading private ISPs for providing seamless bandwidth connectivity.

Highlights of K-FON Scheme

CM highlighted that Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) Scheme will prove very beneficial for poor citizens. Such lower class people are not able to get internet services as cost of internet pack per month is high for them. Now the state govt. will provide high speed and high quality internet connection free to poor BPL people and affordable prices for others.

Chief Minister also mentioned that Kerala is the only state in the country which has declared internet as fundamental right to its citizens. The consortium for the project comprises of public sector companies, Railtel and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and private companies such as LS Cables and SRIT.

About Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) Project

The project has been implemented by Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited and Kerala State Electricity Board. Optical fibre cables were laid across the state using KSEB posts. Kerala Fibre Optic Network Scheme will act as catalyst for the knowledge-based economy envisioned by the state. 

As the importance and relevance of the internet has grown in the post-COVID-19 scenario, CM said that use of the internet in sectors such as banking and education will greatly increase. K-FON project will provide major support to the government's efforts to develop Kerala as the world’s leading educational, industrial, and tourism destination.

Service Providers

Out of 30,000 km of fiber that will laid by the project, 50% will be leased out to Telecom Service Providers and Cable TV operators on non-discriminatory basis. KFON will lay a strong foundation for Digital Kerala architecture consisting of platforms for G2G, G2C, B2C interactions, enabling deployment of advanced applications for content delivery.

The project will bring in Content Service Providers into the picture after the initial infrastructure is laid, to facilitate provision of affordable broadband connectivity to households by the TSPs/ISPs/Cable Operators by leveraging this network. This will provide a level playing field for the best players in the telecom services field and discourage monopoly practices.

The state would be divided in to four regions consists of 3 - 4 districts each. The operators for each region will be selected through an open tender. SPV would provide the required bandwidth to these operators on subsidized rates. In lieu of this, free Internet is to be provided to the economically backward households. The minimum grant to the operator for providing free internet and the revenue share for the additional services are the bid parameters in the tender.

Technology transformation with the advent of 5G

One of the biggest technological buzzes of late, happening in the telecom sector, is the coming of the fifth-generation network or 5G. Let’s look at how different it is from the previous generations. The salient feature of each generation is as follows.

1G: Mobile voice calls
2G: Mobile voice calls and SMS
3G: Mobile web browsing
4G: Mobile video consumption and higher data speed
5G: Technology to digitize industries offer services to consumers and digitalize industries.

5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or at least augment the 4G LTE connection. It will be a gamechanger as it will radically improve network connections. Video buffering which is a bane at present when checking newsfeeds, will disappear. There will be less disruptions when sharing videos from crowded areas too. Exponentially faster downloads, stabler internet, reduced latency and more secure connections will make services faster and better. The net result is a great user experience.

As far as data speeds are concerned, we could avail of peak data rates of 20 Gbps downlink and 10Gbps uplink per mobile device, that is, speed shared by all users on the device with 5G. The download speed per user will be 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps. Users can avail of a higher speed when accessing files, programs and remote applications without delay. By intensifying the use of the cloud, all devices will depend less on the internal memory and on the accumulation of data. Therefore, it will not be required to install a large number of processors on some objects as well.

Latency or the time taken by data to travel from one point to another will be 4 milliseconds usually and 1 millisecond for specific cases needing high-speed such as surgeries done remotely. In 5G the latency will be ten times less than in 4G, being able to perform remote actions in real time. This coupled with the increase of the sensors makes it possible to control the machinery of an industrial plant, control logistics or remote transport, surgical operations in which the doctor can intervene a patient who is at another side of the world with the help of precision instrumentation managed remotely or the complete control of remote and automated transport systems. The creation of subnetworks will give specific characteristics to a part of the network, being a programmable network and will allow to prioritize connections. Latencies which are different or of different priorities can be in the network, so that possible overloads of the networks are well handled.

5G will enable base stations to support movement from 0 to 310 mph, that is, the base station will work across a range of antenna movements. This is easy on LTE networks. Radio interfaces will be energy efficient when in use, and drop into low-energy mode when not in use. In other words, a radio should be able to switch into a low-energy state within 10 milliseconds when not used.
5G will mean improved Spectral efficiency which is defined as the optimized use of spectrum or bandwidth for transmitting maximum amount of data with the fewest transmission errors. The spectral efficiency is 30bits/Hz downlink, and 15 bits/Hz uplink. 5G will also support many more connected devices than LTE, up to 1 million connected devices per square kilometre, even considering a large number of devices that will power IoT. There is the added advantage of being able to implement virtual networks, also called network slicing and providing more connectivity to concrete needs.

IoT is a very happening area right now. A residence is expected to have over a hundred connected devices sending and receiving information in real-time. In the case of industries, it should be easily thousands of connected devices. This phenomenon will lead to smart cities where the above two combines. Monitoring a smart city will be easier by placing sensors in different points and objects in the city. Sharing/managing the information of the sensors of the automobiles and those of the city enables us to improve the quality of life of the cities. We can facilitate the navigation of the autonomous car such as choosing better routes, bringing down the number of accidents, planning and locating parking spaces, etc.

5G in India

India’s first 5G network trial was conducted by Bharti Airtel and the Chinese telecom multinational Huawei in February 2018. However, Chinese companies have always posed security concerns and the Indian government has been taking serious cognizance of it. A telecom committee was set up by the government to look into alternatives for the Chinese association, especially keeping economic and security interests in mind. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued a white paper press statement declaring that 5G will transform communication networks and create massive growth in Indian economy by the year 2024. By 2019, mobile phone companies all over the world started deploying 5G cellular network standard. In March 2020, the first ever all-5G smartphone Samsung Galaxy S20 was launched and now there is a flooding of 5g smartphones in Indian market.

As 5G catches on in India, the net speeds required to catch up with it will also be phenomenally higher. KFON meshes perfectly into the picture and will position the state well to be ahead of the race.

For more details, visit the official website at https://kfon.kerala.gov.in/

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  1. I would like to avail, paid connection of krone service.
    Kindly advice formalities for on line registration.
    Location: Bolghatty, Ernakulam.


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