Launch Of BharatNet Phase II, Intends to Offer High-Speed Broadband To All Panchayats
BharatNet project’s Phase II has been launched by the government that is intended to provide all the panchayats high-speed broadband connections by the end of 2019. Key telecom players such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone India, and Idea Cellular have given the government cheques to take on infrastructure in the gram panchayats to offer broadband services.
The government, within the phase II, aspires to link 1.5 lakh panchayats via 10 lakh km of added optical fiber and give the telecom players bandwidth at almost 75% lower cost for Wi-Fi and broadband services in rural regions. Around Rs 13.19 Crores has been given by Jio, Rs 5 Crores by Airtel, Rs 11 Lakh by Vodafone, and Rs 5 Lakh by Idea Cellular to bring connectivity to villages in the rural India.
Manoj Sinha, Communications Minister, said, “We are actually shifting toward a digital future, where BharatNet is an integral component of Digital India. We look forward to touching numerous lives with BharatNet.”
Thus, phase II will be started by the government with a sum of Rs 34,000 Crores. Aruna Sundararajan, the Telecom secretary, said that the phase I of BharatNet is completed by almost 90%. It will be entirely accomplished by December 2017. Through the phase I, around 3 Lakh villages or 1 Lakh gram panchayats were connected.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the Telecom Ministry with 7 states, including Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu. These states will launch the project by themselves with fractional backing from the Central government.
Optical fibers will be rolled by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. in 8 states, including Haryana, Assam, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, and Jammu & Kashmir and Power Grid Corporation of India in 3 states, including Uttarakhand, Odisha, and Himachal Pradesh.
Sundararajan said, “India, with BharatNet, is anticipating to twice fiber optic connectivity throughout the nation from 1 million km to 2 million km.” She added, “With this initiative, we anticipate to connect 50 Lakh households and 25 Lakh government organizations.” She also mentioned that all the equipment—electronics, fiber—utilized in this project were native.
Sundararajan, stating that the main purpose of this project is to offer developmental services, said this initiative will prompt service revolution. She said, “This project has the prospective to put in 3.3% to the Gross Domestic Product of the nation, which sums up to Rs 3 lakh crores.”
The project’s phase II will install Wi-Fi in each village, for which soon a tender will be proposed.