Signing of MoU on cards for implementation of BharatNet Phase II

Image source Fabio Lanari via Wikimedia commons

Image source Fabio Lanari via Wikimedia commons

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, a Communications Ministry release said on Sunday.

Inaugurating a National Conference on "BharatNet and its Utilization with States" in New Delhi, he said that this is our mission and your vision for the nation.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is also in the process of partnering with state governments of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand.

Seven states signed memoranda of understanding with the Centre, to be part of the project.

Major telecom players like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India have given cheques to the government to hire infrastructure in gram panchayats (GPs) to provide broadband services.

Telecom minister Manoj Sinha, along with law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar will be launching the project.

India today launched the second phase of bharatNet, the extended broadband network to provide free connectivity to all p gram panchayats and all village level administration units. The conference will be attended by IT ministers and IT secretaries from states.

By December 2017, all 1, 00, 000 Global Positioning System will be operational on the BharatNet infrastructure.

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

The proposal for offering Rs 3600 crore subsidy to telecos assisting the government in the BharatNet project was originally presented before the Union Cabinet in July.

Under the Phase I, 1 lakh Global Positioning System or 3 lakh villages were connected.

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.

"India, at present, has 38,000 Wi-fi hotspots".

The government will also give Rs3,600 crore in financial support to telecom service operators for rolling out Wi-Fi in villages. Under BharatNet phase 2, around 6-7 lakh Wi-fi hotspots will be added with 2-5 hotspots in each panchayat. "So (we) will provide viability gap funding of around Rs3,600 crore to telecom operators".

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