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Kerala: Pinarayi govt admits free K-FON scheme a failure; Only 5856 connections so far

The Pinarayi government's K-FON project, intended to provide free internet to the poor and affordable internet to others, has seen limited progress. Although the first phase was launched during the first government with a completion target of 2021, three years into the second government, only 5,856 out of the promised 14,000 free connections have been made.

Kerala: Pinarayi govt admits free K-FON scheme a failure; Only 5856 connections so far anr
First Published Jun 10, 2024, 9:30 AM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: The third progress report of the second Pinarayi government acknowledges the failure of the K-FON project, which was initially touted as a significant achievement. Despite claims by K-FON authorities about rapid progress towards generating an annual income of Rs 150 crores, the report reveals that even half of the initially promised free connections have not been completed.

The Pinarayi government's intention with K-FON was to provide free internet to the poor, offer moderately priced internet to others, and create a New Kerala through digital equality. The project's first phase was inaugurated during the first government, with a target completion date set for 2021, and plans to empower the latter phase. However, three years into the second Pinarayi government, the project has made little progress. Although it was promised that 14,000 families would receive free connections within a month, the progress report shows that only 5,856 free connections have been established.

The government acknowledges that out of the 30,000 government offices targeted, only 21,311 have received K-FON Net. The progress report lacks details about domestic commercial connections, even though a mobile application called My K FON and a website have been created to facilitate these connections. The Chief Minister has admitted that they are still in the process of finding last-mile network providers. An official news release from K FON authorities last month claimed that 4,300 km of fiber network has been leased, with plans to increase this to 10,000 km to generate income. However, the progress report does not address the project's financial crisis, which includes covering the project cost, maintenance expenses, and repaying the KIIFB loan.

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