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6 Nov 2019

Nidheesh M.K., Live Mint

India: Kerala becomes first state to declare access to internet a basic human right

"Now, Kerala aims for internet in every household", 7 November 2019

After 100% literacy, Kerala now aims for another milestone—internet for every household and free internet for every poor household.

The state cabinet approved the scheme, one of the flagship projects of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala. This is in line with a promise made in the first full budget of the government, as well as the LDF’s election manifesto, to make internet access a “citizen’s right" and provide free internet to 2 million poor households in the state.

KFON is a joint venture of the state’s power utility, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), and the public sector information technology (IT) arm, Kerala State IT Infrastructure Ltd,... The plan is to establish a new optic fibre network, and Wi-Fi transmission centres across the state, according to the statement.

For last-mile connectivity, the fibre network will use the electricity network of KSEB, which has wide-ranging presence and the existing cable television networks, which has a presence in 95% households in Kerala, according to KFON estimates. 

Only a few countries such as Finland, Estonia, France, Spain, Greece, and Costa Rica have declared the internet as a basic human right.

Among Indian states, Tamil Nadu and Telangana had offered to provide free or low-cost internet to households for a while but such initiatives remain a non-starter.