NOFN aims to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to 2.50 lakh gram panchayats by March 2017 and the estimated cost of the project is about Rs 20,100 crore.

To create, operate, maintain and manage NOFN, the government has established a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL).

Survey work has been completed by BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid Corporation in 2,972 blocks out of the 3,018 blocks for connecting 50,000 gram panchayats by March 2015, Minister of Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

Stating the reasons for delay in implementation of the NOFN project, he said there have been "supply constraints" with a given set of suppliers to meet the "vast demands of material requirement" of large NOFN project.     

He added that survey work to ascertain the total length of incremental OFC to be laid, which is now significantly complete, has been a fairly time consuming process for the three participating central public sector undertakings.     

"Constraints on timely availability of labour and contractors for trenching and cable laying in different parts of the country given the high volume of work of NOFN at rates within reasonable limits of estimated rates" were among the reasons behind delay, he said.

There are no "major differences" between the implementing agencies of NOFN project, Prasad said, adding that routine issues are resolved immediately at appropriate level to ensure expeditious execution of the project.

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