Govt. launches BharatNet Phase 2 to provide 100pc connectivity by 2020

By : |November 14, 2017 0

Government of India has launched the second phase of BharatNet project on Monday with an outlay of Rs 31,000 crore and a mandate to provide high-speed broadband to all panchayats by March 2019.

“Under the project, we will provide 1 gbps (gigabit per second) bandwidth capacity at panchayat level. The Cabinet in July 2017 approved a modified implementation strategy for BharatNet which include project completion for all 2.5 lakh panchayats by March 2019,” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said at the launch.

The Department of Telecom has also requested all the states to provide a list of unconnected villages so that all of them can be connected with telecom services by 2020. 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 nearly 75 per cent cheaper price for broadband and wifi services in rural areas.

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Reliance Jio paid the highest advance subscription fee of Rs 13 crore to provide broadband services at 30,000 gram panchayats, with a commitment to buy bandwidth in every panchayat from the government as it expands the project.

Bharti Airtel shelled out Rs 5 crore for bandwidth buy to cover 30,500 village panchayats, Vodafone Rs 11 lakh and Idea Cellular Rs 5 lakh.

The telecom ministry expects to complete the first phase of the project covering over 1 lakh panchayats by the end of December. As per official data, broadband services have already been started in more than 48,000 panchayats and over 75,000 panchayats are ready for the services. “The progress of service readiness has picked up to such an extent that in October 2017 around 25,000 gram panchayats have already been made service ready. All 1 lakh panchayats under first phase will be ready for broadband by the end of December,” Sinha said.

Meanwhile, the government has also signed agreement with seven states – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand – which will roll out the project on their own with partial funding from the central government.

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