Signing of MoU on cards for implementation of BharatNet Phase II

14 November, 2017, 02:16 | Author: Benny Bass
  • Image source Fabio Lanari via Wikimedia commons

With an aim to provide high-speed broadband in all panchayats by March 2019, Department of Telecom is organizing a National Conference with the State Governments and Service Providers on Today. The second phase is expected to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats.

The telecom ministry expects to complete the first phase of the project covering over 1 lakh panchayats by the end of December. "After rural exchange rollout in the country when telecom services started, this is the biggest project involving domestically manufactured products for the entire project", Sundararajan further explained about the upcoming project, which will be launched by Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, Law and Human Resource Development Minister along with IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. "This centre, with around 100 Mbps bandwidth, is equipped to provide tele-medicine-remote medical consultancy, tele-education, entertainment, digital payments and e-governance services, empowering the people in these villages and achieving the vision of Digital India", a senior official from the company told BusinessLine.

The National Optical Fibre Network was approved by the United Progressive Alliance government in 2011, and it was renamed to BharatNet and its progress was expedited by the current government. However, only about three hundred kilometres out of 3 lakh kilometres of optical fibre were laid across the country, Sinha said.

With the phase one of the government's ambitious all-India internet connectivity project BharatNet getting closer to completion, it has set the ball rolling for the second phase.

The Government has proposed a subsidy of Rs 3,600 crore (as part of BharatNet Phase II) to private telecom firms such as Bharati Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio through viability gap funding.

Under the Phase II, the government plans to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats through 10 lakh km of additional optical fibre.

Bharti Airtel on the other hand submitted Rs 5 crore, and said that it will take connections to 30,500 gram panchayats.

MoUs were also signed between the DoT and seven States: Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Jharkhand and Gujarat. The Centre will provide total fund support of around Rs 10,000 crore to the state governments.

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