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July 29, 1998


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The Malayali backbone: The Kerala Information Infrastructure is in place and village panchayats are readying to become service providers!The Malayali backbone: The Kerala Information Infrastructure is in place and village panchayats are readying to become service providers!

The Software Technology Park Thiruvananthapuram plans to extend the recently commissioned high-speed information backbone between Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam further north to Kozhikode and Kannur to create what is purported to be a trans-Kerala information superhighway called the Kerala Information Infrastructure.

Email this story to a friend. All six major cities covered by the vertical geographic profile of the network - Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Kozhikode and Kannur - would feature separate high-speed data communication nodes, according to Dr S R Uttarwar, director, STPT.

Malayali backbone
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The express purpose of the scheme is to afford connectivity to software exporters setting up shop in the proposed software technology parks coming up in Kochi, Kozhikode and Kannur.

Each high-speed node, being funded by the state government under the People's Campaign for the Ninth Plan, will have a capacity of 64 KBPS, progressively upgradable to 2 MB.

This will ensure that the system will be able to host new and evolving technologies in transmission with larger carrying capacities so that more data can be compressed into the same bandwidth.

The number of subscribers logging into the system in the immediate future should not, therefore, pose any problem.

The six high-speed nodes can be used as gateways to link the network to panchayats. These nodes would be able to provide 24-hour connectivity (against the dial-up facility offered by the DoT) to the panchayats at a nominal Rs 10,000 per year. Some 500 panchayats in the state are equipped with computers, least knowing what to do with their machines.

The KII will, in turn, enable the panchayats to become 'service providers' to their rural clientele equipped with computers.

Each such client may be allotted an individual account and will be able to send and receive mails at a nominal charge of Rs 2 per kilobyte. This way the panchayat will be able to make good, and even better, the initial investment of Rs 10,000 paid as upfront fees for the connectivity.

The scheme is being worked out on the presumption that each panchayat will have a sustainable number of households with existing and prospective computer hardware, thanks to the large expatriate population in West Asia, among other overseas destinations.

The info highway is being visualised as a three-in-one system. The priority beneficiary is the commercial sector represented by the software exporting community.

But the system will have enough capacity to house a second component dealing with social welfare programmes of the government such as monitoring of panchayat-level schemes, distance-learning programmes and telemedicine, currently being demonstrated to the state government.

A third component of the highway is the general-purpose segment represented by the Internet buffs and other users who can opt for VSNL connectivity proper.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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