Bharat Net, intended to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayat with high speed Internet, set to be delayed; PMO cracks whip against DoT (Department of Telecommuication). The government cleared the second phase of BharatNet, its ambitious programme to bring broadband connectivity to all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country. It also more than doubled the project’s budget and pushed back the deadline to March 2019.
BharatNet is funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund and the first phase was allocated Rs11,148 crore to connect 1,00,000 gram panchayats in the country.
Even as the Department of Telecom (DoT) is working overtime to complete the Bharat Net project, the process is marred by hurdles in ensuring end-to-end connectivity and delays in project execution. During the second phase, end-to-end implementation of the BharatNet project will be spread across states including public and private sector companies.
Bharatnet 2.5 lacs Grampanchayat Broadband connection
The network, which will have mix of underground fibre, aerial fibre, radio and satellite media as per modifications in the second phase – rather than only by underground OFC, which was the initial strategy – will facilitate electronic delivery of services to citizens of various e-governance, e-commerce, e-education, and e-health services, thereby facilitating inclusive growth.
The government aims to bridge the digital divide in rural and remote areas by providing affordable broadband at a minimum speed of 100 Mbps through a robust network infrastructure, previously called the National Optical Fibre Network.
Bharat NET Gram Panchayat News Reviews
As per initial announcements made by the government, it aimed to make the high-speed broadband connectivity available across 1,00,000 gram panchayats in the country by March 2017. Subsequently, the deadline for the rest of the 150,000 panchayats was set for the year 2018. A look at the analytics tells that till January 29, the optical fiber has been laid in about 76,089-gram panchayats. Further, 16,355 gram panchayats have already been provided the promised broadband connectivity.
Previously, The phase-I to connect 100,000 gram panchayats by laying underground optical fibre cable is being implemented through three central public sector undertakings – BSNL, RailTel and PGCIL.
Besides, around 50,000 km of poor-quality fibre has to be replaced at a cost of a more than Rs 2,000 crore adding to the department’s woes and this is at a time when the DoT is busy preparing for Phase 2, for which it will move the Union Cabinet for approval by August.