Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Govt set to launch Rs34,000-cr second phase of BharatNet

Govt set to launch Rs34,000-cr second phase of BharatNet

Jio has given over Rs. 13.19 crores, Airtel Rs. 5 crores, Idea Cellular Rs. 5 lakh and Vodafone Rs. 11 lakh to take connectivity to villages in rural India.

With optical fibre connectivity now available at 1 lakh gram panchayats under Phase I of the project, the Central government will sign MoUs with the states for staring BharatNet Phase II.

Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad described the launch of BharatNet phase-2 as a momentous occasion, Union communications minister Manoj Sinha lauded Telangana state and urged other states to emulate it. "So, we will provide viability gap funding of around Rs 3,600 crore to telecom operators", The Economics Times quoted, Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, as saying.

The Government of India launched BharatNet Phase II project on Monday.

"Broadband services have already started in more than 48,000 villages and over 75,000 villages are ready for the services", Sinha said.

BharatNet, earlier known as National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project, is part of Narendra Modi government's Digital India initiatives, which also include setting up of SWAN (State Wide Area Network) for government offices and NKN (National Knowledge Network) for all educational institutes. The current government approved changes in the project to expedite the rollout and renamed it as BharatNet.

Studies show that Rs 4.5 lakh crore value can be added to the national gross domestic product on completion of BharatNet phase 2 and that every 10% usage of Internet in India drives up GDP by 3.3%.

Bharat Broadband Network is the executing agency for the BharatNet project along with three PSUs.

DoT will also sign Memorandum of Understanding with States for the implementation of BharatNet Phase II during the Conference. Memorandum of understandings were also signed between the DoT and seven states, including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Jharkhand and Gujarat. "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.

"Under BharatNet Phase II, around 6-7 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots will be added with two-five hotpsots in each panchayat".

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