Kerala has had a transformative journey since its venture into digitalization in the 2000s. With the penetration of internet technology and rising levels of e-literacy, it became imperative for the Government to adopt the e-delivery mode of information and services to its citizens. From government service dissemination centres like FRIENDS in the 2000s to Service and Payroll Administrative Repository for Kerala (SPARK), e-Health, e-Office, e-Procurement, CCTNS, e-District, SDPK, etc. in 2020, the demand continues to grow for e-Governance services that impact the lives of the common man. The state has been a pioneer in the country in making investments towards building core digital infrastructure to deliver e-Governance services.
KSWAN and beyond
With major government processes digitalized, the State Data Centre (SDC) is the first of its kind in the country dedicated for hosting e-Governance applications only. i.e., all government institutions across the State access the SDC to run their routine operations. Kerala State Wide Area Network (KSWAN) is the main network infrastructure for e-governance in the state. However, the existing connectivity through KSWAN is limited to about 3,800 government offices for delivery of e-Gov services. This infrastructure utilizes bandwidth provided by the Service Providers in lieu of the RoW provided to them by the Government. There are no defined SLAs for such bandwidth provisioned and hence the Government has very little control in ensuring a reliable, robust and secure network. Most of the end institutions are connected over wireless through KSWAN and a few through wired media. The remaining institutions, which are not covered under KSWAN, have leased internet bandwidth from service providers to access the applications hosted in SDC. KSWAN is limited by access, capacity and scalability, to cater to 30,000+ government institutions in the state. Therefore, the Government felt the need to build a dedicated optical fibre backbone capable of efficient service delivery, assured Quality of Service (QoS), reliability, redundancy, security and scalable in nature for meeting future bandwidth demands.
As far as the network infrastructure of the TELCOs in the state is concerned, their fibre infrastructure in the rural areas is limited. This is due to high CAPEX and stringent RoW conditions. Hence, high-speed wireless connectivity (3G/4G) is limited in rural areas as TELCOs need to set up more towers to provide such services. Moreover, the majority of the existing telecom towers are connected via wireless which limits the bandwidth that can be provided to the public.
The need for better bandwidth
The state witnessed a frenetic pace in adopting smarter solutions such as
- video conferencing, video surveillance, smart traffic management, telemedicine, smart classrooms/e-education, e-Courts, smart meters and asset tracking
- related responsible technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Storage, Internet of Things, Machine-to-Machine (M2M)
- rise in mobility including multiple device ownerships
- growth in the number of internet users.
All these are major contributing factors to the incessantly growing bandwidth demands. SD/HD/UHD video-based services are set to increase at unprecedented rates and will have a more pronounced/multiplier effect on the bandwidth demand. To cater to these demands, investment is required in fibre and faster electronics. As the technology up-gradation and adoption gathered pace, the gap between the digital haves and have-nots was more glaring. It is in this context that in the state budget speech 2017, the honourable Finance Minister announced that free internet connections will be provided to 20 lakh economically backward families and subsidized internet for others. On a social front, the government recognized the need for internet access for all of its citizens in a digital society and declared “Internet as a basic right”.
Meanwhile, KSEBL decided to undertake the Reliable Communication & Data Acquisition Network (RCDAN) project utilizing the Power System Development Fund (PSDF) under the mandate of the Ministry of Power. The project involves laying optical fibre cable over EHT lines connecting their substations to help improve their grid communication, remote management of its safety and security. Thus, the Government of Kerala decided to implement the project utilizing KSEBL infrastructure to set up the network infrastructure by leveraging its transmission and distribution networks and making both KSITIL and KSEBL equal partners in the joint venture for the project called Kerala Fibre Optic Network Ltd (KFON Ltd). This removed the hassles of getting RoW permissions. By adopting an aerial mode of laying, the project would be completed on a mission mode. The commendable pace at which KSEBL restored the electricity network which got damaged during the 2018 floods is a testimony to this fact.
Objectives of KFON
KFON is an audacious project of the Government aiming to obviate the digital divide. This project is to be a complementary infrastructure to the existing telecom ecosystem in the State. KFON is based on the principles of non-discriminatory treatment, as per the recommendations of TRAI, i.e., without any preferential treatment to any service provider or business segment. It essentially acts as an information super-highway through the creation of a robust core and middle-mile infrastructure. This network can be leveraged by any provider at any level of the business segment – TSP/ISP/MSO/LCO – to augment their connectivity gaps at their core network without the burden of stringent RoW and intensive CAPEX requirements. The networks created by these operators at the community level can then connect to KFON and deliver access and services to underserved areas that may otherwise be financially unattractive for mainstream providers. In due course, this model can lead the market forces to act and increase competition in providing better connectivity services to the citizens. The government can even explore delivering e-Governance services to citizens through such networks.
Thus, the KFON network will function as a strong foundation for all G2G, G2C, B2C interactions. The major objectives of KFON are the following.
- Create a core network infrastructure (information highway) with non-discriminatory access to all service providers so as they can augment their connectivity gap.
- Provide a reliable, secure and scalable intranet connecting all government offices, educational institutions, hospitals, etc.
- Partner with MSOs, TSPs, ISPs for providing free internet to economically backward households.
To achieve these objectives and streamline the implementation of the project, it has been structured to be completed as two tracks:
- Track 1: Setting up of a state-wide core optical fibre network and providing connectivity to 30,000+ government institutions.
- Track 2: Provide free internet to economically backward families and subsidized internet for others by leveraging KFON Infrastructure
Benefits of KFON
KFON will complement the existing telecom ecosystem in the state and will act as the perfect catalyst positioning Kerala as a Gigabit Economy. The following are some of the multiple benefits to be realized across the board.
- Bridge the digital divide by making internet access a basic right to citizens and enable the state government’s vision to provide free internet access to economically backward households.
- Deliver e-Governance to citizens through TSPs/ISPs/Cable operators by leveraging this network.
- Provide affordable and better broadband connectivity to households by the TSPs/ISPs/Cable operators due to a competitive market by leveraging this network.
- Boose economic growth by providing digital infrastructure support for local enterprises and SMEs and promoting Electronics and IT industry.
Human capital development
- Deliver remote education
- Create job opportunities
- Enhance skills
- Prove remote healthcare access
- Smart cities/ smart grids
- Transportation management
- Community Connect – Smart Village
- Sharing information and best practices (financial services, e-governance, agricultural techniques)
- Entertainment (IPTV, OTT, etc.)
- Creating connected communities (researchers, product development, anytime anywhere/ anytime collaboration)
b) State Data Centre
The State Data Centre project was mandated by the Government of India to provide the core infrastructure for the e-Governance initiatives of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). The mission is to provide efficient electronic delivery of Government-to-Government (G2G), Government-to-citizen (G2C) and Government-to-business (G2B) services in each of the States and Union Territories by consolidating the services, applications and infrastructure on a single platform.
Kerala became the first State in the country to have a state-of-the-art Data Centre exclusively for e-Governance activities. It acts as a Central repository of the State. All the Government services are made interoperable and are rendered through this central platform seamlessly supported by core Connectivity Infrastructure such as Kerala State Wide Area Network (KSWAN) and Common Service Centers (CSC). Aggregation of all IT Infrastructure resources and Management resources into a single platform thus ensures faster delivery of services at reduced costs.
In Kerala, there are two State Data Centers, both monitored and managed by Kerala State IT Mission. The first data centre, SDC-1 was established in 2005 and the second one SDC-2 in 2012.
Key Features & Operations
Both the State Data Centers are certified with ISO 20000 & ISMS 27001 : 2013.
Both the State Data Centers are managed by a single operator.
Both the State Data Centers are audited by a single Third Party Auditor.
Third Party Auditors are monitored by Composite Team.
Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) is periodically auditing Third Party Auditors.
Both the State Data Centers are classified under Tier II category.
High Bandwidth with Load Balancers has been deployed in both the State Data Centers.
Both the State Data Centers are deployed with latest Security Solutions with redundancy and Backup.
State Data Centre Infrastructure Details
We have three types of Infrastructure and they are
NoN IT Infrastructure
Disaster Recovery Facility
Services from Data Centre
Kerala State Data Centre offers five types of services
Co Hosting Services
Co Location Services
Virtual Private Network Service
Co Hosting Services
Kerala State Data Centre had implemented shared infrastructure and department can avail the facility in hosting the application / website.
Co Location Services
Kerala State Data Centre will provide Infrastructure facility like Power, Cooling, Internet, Security etc for hosting the Department owned servers in State Data Centre.
Kerala State Data Centre will provide virtual servers for hosting the applications / website for various departments.
Virtual Private Network Service
Kerala State IT Mission provides Virtual Private Network as a Service for users for accessing applications from remote locations. Virtual Private Network is created by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through the use of dedicated connections, virtual tunnelling protocols, or traffic encryption.
Kerala State IT Mission have Cloud ready platform for hosting various application.
Locations of Data Centre:
State Data Centre-1
Co-Bank Towers, PMG Junction, Thiruvananthapuram,
Tel: 0471-2728618, 2317618
State Data Centre-2
Thejaswini -1, Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram,
Tel: 0471-2700272, 2700720
The State Wide Area Network (SWAN) is a state-of-the-art framework that allows the provision of Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity and associated services to the public sector in the State. This will improve Government efficiency. In 2005, Government of India mandated the establishment of State Wide Area Network throughout the Country with an intention to connect each of India’s States and Union Territories to support National e-Governance Plan (NEGP) initiatives for Government-to-Government and Government-to-Consumer services. SWAN project focuses mainly on high service delivery.
Accordingly, in 2008, Government of Kerala had set up a State Wide Area Network to extend the State Information Infrastructure (SII – consisting of three NOCs at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode and the e-Governance Data Centre at Thiruvananthapuram) to the 14 District Headquarters and the 152 Block Headquarters of Kerala.
KSWAN Helpdesk Number – 1800 425 6171 (Toll free)
For general enquiries:
Phone – +91 471 2726881, 2314307, 2725646
The implementation of Secretariat Wide Area Network (SecWAN) covers strengthening of existing and future connectivity by networking Secretariat Main building, Secretariat Annexe-1 and 2 buildings including offices of Ministers & Secretaries to Government and all the departments in Secretariat.
Secretariat Wide-Area-Network is the largest Campus-Area-Network (CAN) of the Government of Kerala in the state.
e) Kerala State Spatial Data Infrastructure
The Kerala State Spatial Data Infrastructure (KSDI) is an Internet based Geo-spatial Data Directory for the state that facilitates users of the system to share and explore data related to political and administrative boundaries, natural resources, transportation and infrastructure, demography, agro and socio economy etc., of the state. The KSDI has been established for the purpose of acquiring, processing, storing, distributing and improving utilization of spatial data, in line with the National Spatial Data Structure (NSDI) initiatives.
KSDI is a collection of technologies, policies and institutional arrangements to facilitate availability of and access to spatial data, acquired and held by different government Departments/agencies and organizations to a vast, diverse and ever growing community of users. Its four main components are Institutional Frameworks, Technical Standards, Fundamental Datasets and Clearing House Networks. It helps to provide geo-spatial data sharing at all levels of government, commercial sector, non-profit sector, and academia. KSDI, which is the nodal agency formed in the year 2011 for GIS related activities in the state, also provides a reliable and supporting environment to access geographically related information using a minimum set of standard practices, protocols and specifications.
Following are the objectives of KSDI:
Develop and maintain standard digital collection of data
Develop web based Geoportal to improve utilization of geospatial data (sharing of data through internet) for planners, decision makers and public
Develop common solutions for discovery, access and use of spatial data in response to the needs of diverse user groups in the Geo-portal
Provide a gateway for spatial data generated by various agencies in the State
Increase awareness & understanding of the vision, concepts and benefits of the KSDI
Key benefits of the KSDI Project are:
Facilitates sharing of geospatial data and avoid its duplication to reduce cost of data
Build data once and use it many times for different applications
Access to quality information improves decision making by government agencies
Facilitates e-governance at all levels
Decision-makers and analysts can get ready access to the right geo-information for use in analytical and visual models
Supports sustainable economic, social, and environmental development
KFi is a free Wi-Fi project implemented by the Government of Kerala. The program aims at providing the various benefits of Information Technology, various government services and information accessible and transparent to the public. This service is available at selected public places in all districts.
It will be available at public places such as Bus stops, District offices, Panchayaths, major government offices and government hospitals. This project implemented by the Kerala State IT Mission is now available in nearly 2000 public places including coastal area. The public can use this service daily up to 1 GB with 10 Mbps speed in their mobile phones, laptops and other devices free of cost. When you are in the K-Fi range, you can turn on WiFi, then enter your mobile number to log in and can use the fastest internet service.
Help Desk number : 1800 4255 300