BharatNet second phase launched: Jio pays highest fee


The aim of BharatNet Phase I was to provide fibre connectivity to 1 lakh gram panchayats.

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is also signing agreements with Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand that have shown interest in participating in phase 2 of BharatNet with partial funding from the government.

BharatNet broadband, which is a base for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project - Digital India - saw a rush from telecom service providers seeking to use BharatNet broadband services to provide last-mile connectivity to villages.

"After rural exchange rollout in the country when telecom services started, this is the biggest project involving domestically manufactured products for the entire project", Sundararajan further explained about the upcoming project, which will be launched by Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, Law and Human Resource Development Minister along with IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The government is also using rugged and low-maintenance equipment manufactured domestically and technology developed by state-sponsored Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT).

By December 2017, all 1, 00, 000 Global Positioning System will be operational on the BharatNet infrastructure.

He said that by December-end, one-lakh gram panchayats (GPs) will be ready to offer services.

The total project cost is around Rs 42,000 crore of which around Rs 11,000 crore have been invested in the first phase.

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Under the Phase I, 1 lakh Global Positioning System or 3 lakh villages were connected.

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.

For instance, Airtel has promised to adopt 30,500 Global Positioning System to connect its 4G broadband network using BharatNet's optical fibre. Telecom operators made their payments to buy bandwidth for the project, with Reliance Jio paying the most - Rs 13 crore.

The government will also give Rs3,600 crore in financial support to telecom service operators for rolling out Wi-Fi in villages.

"India, at present, has 38,000 Wi-fi hotspots".

Phase II of the project will set up Wi-Fi in every village, for which tender will be floated soon.