kapil sibalINVC, Delhi, The Government has approved a project to create National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) connecting all the 2, 50,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country through Optical Cable (OFC). The Central Government, through Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), is funding the project while the contribution of State Government would be by providing free Right of Way (RoW) for laying OFC. The project envisages signing a tripartite MoU for free Right of Way (RoW) among Central Government, State Government and Bharat Broadband Network Limited, BBNL (the SPV incorporated for execution of the project).  16 States/UTs have already signed MoUs on 26.10.2012: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and 3 Union Territories viz. Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Puducherry. This arrangement covers 1,40,727 GPs to be provided with Optical Fibre Network in these States and UTs.  Tripartite MoU were signed in the presence of Union Minister of Communications & IT, Shri Kapil Sibal with further 10 States /UTs today: Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Total of 85731 GPs will get covered by Optical Fibre Network in these States and UTs.