BharatNet second phase launched: Jio pays highest fee

BharatNet 2 for high-speed broadband to all panchayats to kick off tomorrow

BharatNet Phase I is set to complete by the end of 2017. Referring to BharatNet as the world's largest rural optic fibre network, she said that Phase-2 of the project is 100 percent Made in India as from fibre to design to software everything has been spearheaded by C-DoT.

The companies paid the advance cheques to the government, which has kicked off phase-II of the BharatNet project with an outlay of ₹31,000 crore and a mandate to provide high-speed broadband to all 2.5 lakh panchayats by March 2019.

Modi's government renamed it to BharatNet and rushed its roll-out. Owing to this, the Telecom companies including Airtel, Reliance Jio, Idea, and Vodafone have come forward for providing connectivity services utilizing BharatNet infrastructure.

"Most of the TSPs had shown interest with different revenue models and they are doing things in innovative ways", Sinha told reporters here, adding that the tariff rates for the Teecom Service Providers have also been brought down by 75 per cent.

Memorandum of Understanding for implementation of Phase II of BharatNet has been signed with States during the Conference.

Nearly 90 thousand installations have been completed and broadband services are expected to commence in 80 thousand Gram Panchayats soon.

Under the first phase, the government planned to connect 3 lakh villages in 1 lakh panchayats to broadband, and it will be complete by next month, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said.

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He said that by December-end, one-lakh gram panchayats (GPs) will be ready to offer services. To expedite the rollout of the second phase, the central government will also be providing partial funding to the local governments of these states.

The proposal for offering Rs 3600 crore subsidy to telecos assisting the government in the BharatNet project was originally presented before the Union Cabinet in July.

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will roll out optical fibre in eight states - Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim, and Power Grid Corporation of India in three states - Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Odisha, the Telecom Secretary said.

According to government estimation, the second or final phase of BharatNet will double the existing optical fibre footprint in the country. The last mile connectivity to citizens was proposed to be provided creating Wi-Fi hotspots in gram panchayats.

"Under BharatNet Phase II, around 6-7 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots will be added with two-five hotpsots in each panchayat".

The government will also give Rs3,600 crore in financial support to telecom service operators for rolling out Wi-Fi in villages. "We expect telecom operators to provide at least 2 megabit per second speed to rural households".

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