BharatNet 2: Central government will sign MoUs with the states

BharatNet 2: Central government will sign MoUs with the states

He said, with BharatNet and the Digital India programme, we hope to touch lives, connect people, inform, educate, spread awareness, create jobs, save lives, build relationships, nurture bonds, make significant investments, contribute to the exchequer and the economy and above all bridge the digital divide and amplify financial inclusion. "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. "BharatNet won't be a medium to generate money, it's not a business, it's a medium for broadband penetration under the PM's Digital India initiative".

He said, based on positive response from various states the proposals of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana & Tamil Nadu were approved by Telecom Commission in September 2017. Under this phase, broadband connectivity will be provided in remaining 1.5 lakh Gram Panchayats in the country.

The DoT had significantly increased the pace of implementation during the last six months to complete Phase I, and by December 2017, all 1, 00, 000 gram panchayats will be on the BharatNet infrastructure. The Centre will provide total fund support of around Rs 10,000 crore to the state governments. The first phase to connect 100,000 gram panchayats is already underway, and after much delays will be completed by the end of this year.

Shri Sinha said, the major users of this network are the Telecom Service Providers, ISPs, MSOs, LCOs etc which will use the Bharatnet for provision of broadband and extending the mobile network in the rural & remote areas. For success in phase-2, which will also involve laying of OFC over electricity poles, the participation of states will be important.

The National Optical Fibre Network was approved by the United Progressive Alliance government in 2011, and it was renamed to BharatNet and its progress was expedited by the current government.

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BSNL will roll out optical fibre in eight states-Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim.

Reliance Jio has lead the pack with a initial payment of Rs 13 crore for taking fibre connectivity from Bharat Broadband Network Limited, the provider of fiber in the first phase, for taking connectivity to 30,000 villages in rural areas.

Phase II of the project will set up Wi-Fi in every village, for which tender will be floated soon.

"With BharatNet India is expecting to double fibre optic connectivity across the country from 1 million kilometre to 2 million kilometres", Sundararajan said.

The government will also provide Rs 3,600 crore to telecom operators for rolling out wi-fi in villages.

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