Monday, 20 November, 2017

BharatNet 2: Central government will sign MoUs with the states

Make for India: Govt signs MoU with telecom carriers to support BharatNet phase 2 project BharatNet project - Empowering Gram Panchayats of India
Frank Williams | 14 November, 2017, 02:42

Communication Minister Manoj Sinha, Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Modi and IT ministers of different states launched this at a function in New Delhi. BharatNet is an integral part of Digital India.

Leading telecom carriers have committed to take their wireless services using BharatNet's infrastructure to thousands of villages, as the government announced completion of the first phase by December and launch of second phase on Monday.

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is also signing agreements with Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand that have shown interest in participating in phase 2 of BharatNet with partial funding from the government. It is to be completed by December 2018.

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.

Under the Phase-II, the government will establish fiber optic cables connecting mandals to gram panchayats covering 6,657 gram panchayats across Telangana State.

As of today, nearly 90,000 installations have been completed and services are expected to commence in 80,000 gram panchayats shortly.

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

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

The government aims to bridge digital divide in rural and remote areas of the country by providing affordable broadband at minimum 100 Mbps speeds through robust network infrastructure through the Rs 45,000crore Bharat Net programme, which was earlier known as National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN). It will also generate employment of 10 crore mandays during the project rollout.

The last mile connectivity to citizens was proposed to be provided creating Wi-Fi hotspots in gram panchayats.

The government will also give Rs3,600 crore in financial support to telecom service operators for rolling out Wi-Fi in villages.

Phase II of the project will set up Wi-Fi in every village, for which tender will be floated soon. "We expect telecom operators to provide at least 2 megabit per second speed to rural households".

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