BharatNet-2 launch to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats

BharatNet-2 launch to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats

Vodafone India and Idea Cellular gave initial installments of Rs 11 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, respectively.

With an aim to provide high-speed broadband in all panchayats by March 2019, Department of Telecom is organizing a National Conference with the State Governments and Service Providers on Today.

The government expects to complete the entire BharatNet project, entailing an investment of ₹42,000 crore in both the phases, by March 2019.

The MoUs were signed during the national conference on "BharatNet" for launch of Phase-II in New Delhi on Monday in the presence of Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of State for Communication Manoj Sinha, and other top dignitaries. DoT, in collaboration with service providers, plans to demonstrate various models that could possibly be adopted for these services.

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

The TSPs will be providing last-mile connectivity in villages (fibre to home) after taking the broadband fibre from BharatNet at the Global Positioning System.

Bharat Broadband Network is the executing agency for the BharatNet project along with three PSUs. "With BharatNet we hope to touch several lives".

"Airtel has also established a "Broadband experience centre" in partnership with BharatNet".

Around Rs 4.5 lakh crore value can be added to the national gross domestic product on completion of BharatNet Phase II as a study has suggested that every 10% usage of internet in India drives up GDP 3.3%, according to senior officials.

Ravi Gandhi, Head of regulatory affairs at Bharti Airtel, handed the cheque to Sinha.

Telcos like Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone, and Idea have expressed interest in providing last mile connectivity on BharatNet Infrastructure, DOT said.

Saying that the key objective of this project is to provide developmental services, Sundararajan said this project will trigger service revolution.

"We have paid over ₹13 crore including GST to buy bandwidth from BharatNet".

The telecom ministry will sign memoranda of understanding (MoU) with seven states, including Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Jharkhand. Under BharatNet phase 2, around 6-7 lakh Wi-fi hotspots will be added with 2-5 hotspots in each panchayat.

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