BharatNet second phase launched: Jio pays highest fee
The government launched BharatNet's phase II to provide high-speed broadband connections to all panchayats by 2019-end.
The second phase has an outlay of Rs. 31,000cr.
This announcement was made at an event attended by telecom minister Manoj Sinha, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar and Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi.
The first phase will be completed by December'17.
BharatNet's second phase launched
What is BharatNet?
This project was approved by the previous UPA government in 2011 as the National Optical Fibre Network.
However, the government failed to see it through: only 100kms of about 3Lkms of optical fibre were laid out across the country.
Modi's government renamed it to BharatNet and rushed its roll-out.
Presently, services have started in 48,000 villages and 75,000 villages are ready with the infrastructure.
Which telecom operators have paid the advance fee?
Sinha said the government has reduced bandwidth prices by 75%; thus, telecom operators can provide services at affordable rates.
Reliance Jio paid the highest subscription fee of Rs. 13cr to provide services in 30,000 village panchayats. It also committed to "set up node in every panchayat as the government expands BharatNet."
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Wi-Fi hotspots to increases exponentially in phase II
Currently, there are 38,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in the country. Under phase II, about 7L Wi-Fi hotspots will be added with 2-5 hotspots in each panchayat. As some hotspots might not be commercially viable, government will support telecom operators with a funding of Rs. 3,600cr.
What is the government's expectation from this project?
BharatNet's total investment is about Rs. 42,000cr.
In some states like Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, etc. services will be rolled out with partial funding from Centre.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Power Grid Corporation of India will help in setting up optical fibres in states.
All equipment used is indigenous; moreover, 25L government institutions and 50L households are expected to be linked.
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