The government has completed Phase – I of connecting 100,000 gram panchayats across the country with high speed optical fibre network as per the deadline of 31 December, 2017.
In the second phase, BharatNet will connect 150,000 gram panchayats by March 2019 with high speed broadband services. In toto, it will connect over 2.5 lakh villages benefitting more than 200 million rural Indians.
Union Minister for Communications Manoj Sinha said, “The project will generate massive employment opportunities both direct and indirect in the country in days to come.”
He underlined the need to complete the 2nd phase of the BharatNet well before the target of March, 2019 to usher in a rural digital revolution by connecting 250,000 gram panchayats with broadband network.
The minister asked the officials to include and enforce the clause of financial incentive for speedy execution of Phase-2 of the project and said that the infrastructure created under BharatNet will be a national asset, accessible on a non-discriminatory basis to the service providers. The project aims to provide affordable broadband services to citizens and institutions in rural and remote areas, in partnership with states and the private sector.
BharatNet Phase I is Completely Make In India Project
Equipment Supply Partners – Tejas Networks and Indian Telephone Industries (ITI)
OFC Supply Partners – Finolex Cables, Sterlite Technologies and Vindhya Telelinks
Technology Partners – Centre for Development of Telematics (CDOT) and National Informatics Centre (NIC)
As on 31st December 2017, 254,895 km OFC (optical fibre cable) has been laid covering 109,926 gram panchayats out of which 101,370 gram panchayats have been made service ready.
Speaking on the occasion, Aruna Sundarajan, secretary, Department of Telecom said, “The key highlight of the project is that the telecom equipment deployed in it has been fully designed, developed and manufactured in India.”
BharatNet infrastructure is expected to catalyse digital delivery of services for the rural poor – viz. health, education, livelihood, skills, e-agriculture and e-commerce added Sundarajan.
The tariff for BharatNet was also revised to attract more Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to use the infrastructure to provide high-speed broadband services in the rural areas through Wi-Fi, FTTH, and for developing utilisation models by TSPs and Common Service Centres (CSC).