ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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K-FON: Scripting a New Kerala Story

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Kerala is scripting a new story—it will be the first Indian state to have its own internet service. Aimed at “connecting the unconnected,” the Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) provides free internet access to around 20,00,000 below-poverty-line families and about 30,000 government institutions and schools in the state. Initiated in 2019 as a joint venture between the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure and the Kerala State Electricity Board, the K-FON initially provides 1.5 GB of data per day at the speed of 15 MBPS for every household, thereby aimed at countering the corporate loot in the telecom sector. Launched on 5 June 2023 by the chief minister, K-FON is connected to the far-flung areas of Kerala, and the government believes that it would push for the digitalisation of government services, improve people’s access to information, and better educational and health facilities to the public at large. It is often seen as a government’s recourse to root out corruption and ensure good governance. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s effort is to ensure that everyone has equal access to the internet, which can ensure digital inclusion.

In 2016, the United Nations declared internet as a human right, adding it to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Section 32 adds, “The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet” and another 15 recommendations that cover the rights of those who work in and rely on internet access. It also applies to women, girls, and those heavily affected by the digital divide. The declaration was significant in the context of the growing cases of internet shutdowns across the world. Further, it called for universal access to the internet by 2030. Countries such as Finland, Estonia, France, Spain, Greece, and Costa Rica have declared the internet as a basic human right. The right to the internet is also related to the right to education, freedom of expression, improving the quality of government services, etc.

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Updated On : 3rd Jul, 2023
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