Government today launched its second and final phase of BharatNet project meant to provide high-speed broadband service in all Gram Panchayats by March 2019.
BharatNet is a project of national importance to establish, a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector. The government is also using rugged and low-maintenance equipment manufactured domestically and technology developed by state-sponsored Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT).
"Most of the TSPs had shown interest with different revenue models and they are doing things in innovative ways", Sinha told reporters here, adding that the tariff rates for the Teecom Service Providers have also been brought down by 75 per cent.
Aruna Sundarajan, secretary of DoT, siad, "We will launch phase 2 of BharatNet tomorrow to connect 150k gram panchayats with high speed broadband by March, 2019".
With BharatNet Phase I operational, state governments will be sharing their plans for leveraging the broadband infrastructure.
Under the phase 2, the government aims to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats through 10 lakh kilometres of additional optical fibre and give bandwidth to telecom players at almost 75 per cent cheaper price for broadband and wifi services in rural areas.
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These states will roll out the project on their own with partial funding from the central government.
For instance, Airtel has promised to adopt 30,500 Global Positioning System to connect its 4G broadband network using BharatNet's optical fibre. It will also generate employment of 100 million mandays during the project rollout.
Sundararajan said there are already around 38,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in the country now. Some of the Wi-fi hotspots may not be commercially viable initially.
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.
Jio has given over Rs 13.19 crore, Airtel Rs 5 crore, Idea Cellular Rs 5 lakh and Vodafone Rs 11 lakh to take connectivity to villages in rural India.