Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Bharatnet project: 1.5 Lakh Panchayats to be provided with Broadband connections

DoT to organise conference to showcase utilisation models leveraging Bharat Net infrastructure Phase 2 of 34000 crore BharatNet begins today
Nicole Thomas | 14 November, 2017, 10:19

Memorandum of Understanding for implementation of Phase II of BharatNet has been signed with States during the Conference.

Telecom minister Manoj Sinha, along with law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar will be launching the project. The first phase of BharatNet will be completed by the end of the year. It will be fully completed by December 2017. "We will tomorrow launch Phase II of BharatNet to connect 1.5 lakh gram panchayats (GP) with high-speed broadband by March 2019", Sundararajan told reporters in New Delhi. For success in phase-2, which will also involve laying of OFC over electricity poles, the participation of states will be important. Principal Secretary for IT and Industries Jayesh Ranjan and Telangana Fiber Grid Corporation managing director Sujai Karampuri signed the MoU on behalf of Telangana State. "BharatNet won't be a medium to generate money, it's not a business, it's a medium for broadband penetration under the PM's Digital India initiative".

Nearly 90 thousand installations have been completed and broadband services are expected to commence in 80 thousand Gram Panchayats soon.

In three years from now, the Narendra Modi government plans to lay down the necessary infrastructure-including one million kilometres of optical fibre network-to bring digital connectivity to the country's 239,000 gram panchayats (village-level administrative units).

"DoT (Department of Telecom) will sign Memoranda of Understanding with states for implementation of BharatNet Phase II during the conference", it said.

These states will roll out the project on their own with partial funding from the central government.

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The total project cost is around Rs 42,000 crore of which around Rs 11,000 crore have been invested in the first phase.

BSNL will roll out optical fibre in eight states-Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim.

The project was earlier called the National Optical Fibre Network and was approved by the previous government in October 2011.

With the subsidies, telecom operators can make use of the existing optic fibre connection to build Wi-Fi hotspots and deliver wireless internet service sooner in the villages without burdening the users with premium charges. The last mile connectivity to citizens was proposed to be provided creating Wi-Fi hotspots in gram panchayats.

Around Rs 4.5 lakh crore value can be added to the national gross domestic product on completion of BharatNet Phase II as a study has suggested that every 10% usage of internet in India drives up GDP 3.3%, according to senior officials.

The government will also provide Rs 3,600 crore to telecom operators for rolling out wi-fi in villages.

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