Government to launch BharatNet phase 2 project today
The government has proposed a subsidy of Rs 3,600 crore to private telcos such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio through viability gap funding, for setting up Wi-Fi in rural areas as part of the second phase of the BharatNet project.
- Rs4.5 lakh crore value can be added to the national gross domestic product on completion of BharatNet phase 2 as a study has suggested that every 10% usage of Internet in India drives up GDP by 3.3%.
- The government estimates that the second phase of BharatNet will double the existing optical fibre footprint in the country and generate employment of 10 crore mandays during the rollout of the project.
- Broadband services rates, Sundararajan said, are expected to be low because of intensive competition in the sector and the government is offering bandwidth under the project to telecom operators at 75% lower rate than they currently buy it.
- The government will provide support of Rs3,600 crore to telecom operators for rolling out wifi in villages. “India at present has 38,000 wifi hotspots. Under BharatNet phase 2, around 6-7 lakh wifi hotspots will be added with 2-5 hotpsots in each panchayats.
BharatNet is a project of national importance, a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.
The entire project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.
The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to the rural India.
National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)
It is an ambitious initiative to trigger a broadband revolution in rural areas. NOFN was envisaged as an information super-highway through the creation of a robust middle-mile infrastructure for reaching broadband connectivity to Gram Panchayats.
The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) aims to connect all the 2,50,000 Gram panchayats in the country and provide 100 Mbps connectivity to all gram panchayats (GPs). To achieve this, the existing fibres of PSUs (BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid) were utilised and incremental fibre was laid to connect to Gram Panchayats wherever necessary.