After 2019 Polls, Chandrababu Naidu Has Major Tech Plans For Andhra Pradesh

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TDP chief aims to bring high-speed internet and IPTV connections to about 12 million households at throwaway prices.

President Ram Nath Kovind dedicated to the nation the Andhra Pradesh Fibre Grid at the state Secretariat on December 27. Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s prestigious project, which aims to expand high-speed internet facility in the state, will provide an exclusive information technology edge for its people. “This project will create history and bring global recognition to the state for providing invaluable services to the common man through the most advanced technology. Andhra Pradesh will be the front-runner in the country for raising happiness levels of people using advanced technology,” said Naidu.

Currently, less than one in every five of the 53 million people in Andhra Pradesh has access to broadband connectivity. The AP Fibre Grid project is committed to bringing high-speed internet and broadband connections to about 12 million households and 1,30,000 enterprises by March 2019.

“For a swift start, two million households will be connected within a month,” said Naidu. The households would get internet connectivity of 15 Mbps, with 600 IPTV channels and Wi-Fi and two telephone connections for just Rs 149.“I have leveraged on the existing electricity lines to facilitate the laying of the optic fibre internet cables and the cost has come down from thousands of crores to just Rs 320 crore,” emphasised Naidu. But he is not stopping at that and is capitalising on the jugaad strategy in managing technologies in order to reach his ambitious goal by 2019.

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Andhra Pradesh is to get Google tech to power the fibre grid project. The state will deploy Free Space Optical Communication (FSOC) technology developed by X, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. For this, the AP State Fibrenet Limited has signed an agreement with Alphabet’s X also known as the Moonshot Factory during the visit of the state’s Information Technology Minister Nara Lokesh to X’s headquarters in California earlier in December. X will be the state’s innovation partner, deploy its resources and team to help achieve the goal of a digital Andhra Pradesh.

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For this Google is deploying technology developed for its internet — beaming hot air balloons, Project Loon — for the first time on a commercial scale. FSOC uses light beams to transmit data at high speeds without a cable and will power 2,000 links in the AP Fibre Grid. These links will be installed on rooftops at distances of 20 to 30km. They will form part of the high bandwidth backbone of the network, offering a cost-effective way to connect rural and remote areas across the state.

This promising innovation is claimed to be the first of its kind association in the world to provide wireless internet connection at a higher speed of up to 20Gbps over long distances up to 30km. Significantly, there is no need to lay optical fibre cables or string cables along poles.

“Andhra Pradesh will be using technology and some equipment developed by a team at X to plug critical gaps in the backbone of the network. Because, it can overcome terrestrial obstacles like rivers, rocky terrain or train tracks to get a signal to cell towers or wi-fi hotspots in hard to reach areas,” tweeted Lokesh.

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Eventually, the state aims to cover 14.50 million households, 12,198 panchayats and 60,000 schools. It is building on a model that will mandate service providers to use the underlying platform to deliver high-speed internet to users at minimal cost. They can also provide value-added services on pre-agreed rates to consumers who can buy them at an additional cost.

The other Telugu state is also in the race to blaze a new technology trail. The Telangana Fibre Grid project is racing ahead of other states to establish the optical fibre network and even set new benchmarks in providing internet connectivity to every household in the state. As against 1,25,000km of optic fibre ducts about 27,000km has already been laid. In laying it, the state is piggybacking on Mission Bhagiratha by laying the ducts along with drinking water pipelines to reduce cost. It is also, in its own way, jugaad in managing technologies.#HydNews

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