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BharatNet’s Phase I target achieved; 100,000 gram panchayats became Internet ready by end 2017

January 08, 2018

According to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the first phase of the BharatNet program reached its conclusion as  100,000 gram panchayats (GPs) in the country were made internet ready by end-December 2017 (101,370 GPs as of December 28, 2017).  Meanwhile, Phase II of the project has already been initiated and the government is hopeful of completing it much before its targeted timeline of March 2019.

According to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Phase I of the project has given a boost to Make in India initiative as the telecom equipment deployed in it has been fully designed, developed and manufactured in India. Indigenously-manufactured components developed by telecom research and development (R&D) agency Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) have been used in implementing the project. Further, Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) that was facing severe challenges has now become a leading manufacturer of Gigabit Passive Optical Network (G-PON).

Meanwhile, the project has also achieved a global record of laying of 800 km of OFC per day. BharatNet infrastructure is expected to catalyse digital delivery of services relating to health, education, livelihood, skills, e-agriculture and e-commerce, to rural areas. The tariffs under the project have also been revised to attract more telecom service providers to use the infrastructure to provide high-speed broadband services in the rural areas through Wi-Fi, FTTH, and Common Service Centres (CSC).

In July 2017, the Cabinet approved the second phase of the BharatNet Project at an outlay of Rs 310 billion with the active role of state governments and private players. The second phase of the project aims to connect remaining 150,000 GPs by March 2019 and ensuring broadband delivery through satellite at 5,300 locations, radio communications and aerial fibre via electric poles in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Under Phase II, eight states are implementing the project on their own. To this end, around 255,000 km of optic fibre cable (OFC) has been laid as a part of scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis to offer on-demand Internet services in rural India.

Moreover, the DoT noted that a dialogue with telecom service providers has ensured that the companies are committed to provide services to 70,000 village blocks by using optic fibre network and ensuring low tariffs. Earlier, the DoT had received an advance payment of Rs 180 million from service providers for implementing the second phase of the project.



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