The southern state of Andhra Pradesh in India has awarded the high-speed broadband project the scope of which includes the design and deployment of approximately 22,500 kilometers of fiber optic cable network across the state. The equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. will design and implement a broadband project in Andhra Pradesh, the first state to implement such a project in India as part of the center’s Digital India initiative.
Andhra Pradesh government plans to deploy the high-speed broadband network in order to deliver broadband services to around two million households. Cisco signed an agreement to this effect with the Andhra Pradesh government.
The company has also zeroed in on Pune to set up its maiden manufacturing unit in the country, John T. Chambers, executive chairman of Cisco told Press Trust of India on the sidelines of a ceremony to launch the fiber grid network in Visakhapatnam. The facility will also serve as an export hub for the California-based company.
Cisco will outsource manufacturing to supplier partners as it does in other production facilities globally. CISCO brings an ecosystem of companies with them to the state. The company has already had a conference with 93 global suppliers at Bengaluru to lay the groundwork.
Cisco will also set up an Internet of Everything (IoE) innovation center in Visakhapatnam to enable partners and start-ups to build prototypes and solutions around IoE. It will also invest in an Advanced Technology Centre of Excellence and Research Lab at the Institute of Digital Technology (IDT) in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. The research lab will focus on cybersecurity, smart city, and manufacturing solutions and will train graduate engineers in advanced digital technologies.
With the fiber optic rollout, Andhra Pradesh becomes the first Indian state to bring all its households online. Under the Digital India initiative launched in July last year, the union government is aiming to connect 250,000 gram panchayats with high-speed Internet by 2017.
Households in the state will get a broadband connection with a speed of 2-20 Mbps while institutions will receive 1-10 Gbps connectivity by 2018. Households will receive Internet, cable, and phone connection, all on the same line, for less than US$2.25 a month. The project is being implemented using fiber to the home (FTTH) technology at 2,500 locations in the State.
The state government will invest around US$50 million to implement the statewide optic fiber project. Andhra Pradesh State Fibernet Ltd., a government-owned corporation, is responsible for implementing and maintaining the fiber grid project in the State.
The state government authorities claim that the project cost came down to US$50 million from the initial estimate of US$706 million since the government opted for an aerial fiber network, wherein optical fiber lines were laid over existing infrastructure such as electric poles to save costs.
The network will be laid in three districts initially-Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, and Srikakulam by April. By July all 13 districts of the state would be connected to the fiber optic grid, said N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. Over 13,000 km of fiber optic cable would be laid over the next four months, Rao added in his presentation.