Today I came across a nicely written article in Business Standard on NOFN. Article’s title was “NOFN: A distant dream“. I must say it is one of good articles I have seen so far on the topic and most of other articles appeared to be factually incorrect and more like Press Releases of UPA.
According to a top official at the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the project was conceptualised without a proper study. “NOFN would connect 2.5 lakh villages from the block level. But, no study was done on the details on optic fibre still the Block level, and how healthy those fibres are.
Experts say that the NOFN project does not include service offering. It is just about the laying of optic fibres. For end-to-end services, service providers will have to set up their own infrastructure at the gram panchayat level.
While the initial cost was projected at Rs 20,000 crore for the NOFN project, private companies will need to pump in much more than this amount to offer services to end customers.
These are precisely the points I have been raising with experts from industry from over an year. The whole BBNL project seem to have come as if UPA 2 was desperately trying to copy Australia’s NBN. The whole logic of copying NBN doesn’t makes sense at all because India has completely different challenge then that of Australia w.r.t broadband penetration and challenges. The very basic reason on why we (the Indians) tend to do such crappy projects is because of our dumb Indian bureaucracy who further work under pretty poor political leadership. Though with political leadership I am very hopeful as well this time under NDA Government but the way whole bureaucracy works it’s still a major concern.
Last week I was invited by XPRIZE foundation for a workshop on “Global Connectivity & Internet challenges” and there I got chance to interact with many good people (and some “not-so-good” people too). I got chance to meet one of advisors of Mr Sam Pitroda who recently got out of job. The guy was a young consultant, a completely non-technical person who approaches problems in “consultant kind off” approach and in the end does nothing other then being PR agent for Govt. indirectly. I asked him – What India will get out of BBNL when it’s just connecting gram Panchayats and there’s no clear plan at all on how people in rural areas would be connected in the end? His reply was just nothing. I pushed him to comment on why Govt. made BSNL so terrible and he even didn’t accept that BSNL was terrible. That’s the problem with these non-technical consultants who don’t understand basics of connectivity and just can’t get anything done. In the end I was disgusted and had to end the conversation with him.
With that being said, after working in Indian (as well a bit International) industry for sometime. There are some key issues wrong in India.
With (strong) hope that BJP will do much better, I will write a mail to current telecom minister highlighting these problems. Let’s see how it goes. Ending this port with 38th Episode of Clothesline covering interesting news coverage of our Indian media.
Back to work!
Disclaimer: Thoughts are completely personal and in no way reflect thoughts of my employer.