Why is it in the news ?

The State Cabinet of Kerala has given nod for the Fibre Optic Network Project (a plan for providing free Internet access to the poor) and clears the path for a Kerala wide optical fibre network by Dec 2020.

  • The government embedded in this plan to touch every household in Kerala is a provision to deliver free Internet access to over two million BPL families.
  • As many as 30,000 government offices and schools would be linked through the high-speed network.


Fiber optic cable

  • A fiber optic cable is a network cable that contains strands of glass fibers inside an insulated casing. 
  • They're designed for long-distance, high-performance data networking, and telecommunications. 
  • Compared to wired cables, fiber optic cables provide higher bandwidth and transmit data over longer distances. 
  • Uses total internal reflection: The core is surrounded by a layer of glass called cladding that reflects light inward to avoid loss of signal and allow the light to pass through bends in the cable.


  • Aligned with the philosophy of the Internet as a basic human right.
  • It is a recognition of the basic rights of internet access.
  • No other Indian state has recognised Internet access in this manner till now.
  • This is also in sync with what the UN has been articulating in recent years, based on the Internet’s role in enabling freedom of speech and reducing inequality.


India’s Internet Statistics

  • In terms of Internet users, India is now second only to China, but with only 36 percent Internet penetration in India.
  • At the state level, the National Capital Region of Delhi registered the highest Internet penetration followed by Kerala, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
  • The gender gap is higher in rural areas as the report showed that in urban areas, 62 percent Internet users are male, but their proportion goes up to 72 per cent in rural areas.
  • Of the 451 million monthly active users, 385 million are over 12 years of age and 66 million are in the age bracket of 5 to 11 years, who access the Internet on the devices of family members.

Inclusive Internet Index 2019

It is commissioned by Facebook and conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

  • The index assesses the performance of 100 countries in four categories of inclusion namely Accessibility, Affordability, Relevance, and Readiness.
  • Sweden has topped the rankings followed by Singapore and the US.
  • India is ranked 47th out of 86 countries when it comes to inclusive Internet and connectivity for all, compromised by low usage and poor quality.