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Government launches Bharat Net phase 2 project

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On November 13, 2017, Central Government launched phase 2 of BharatNet project to connect 1.5 lakh gram panchayats with high-speed broadband by March 2019. 

About Bharat Net Project:

Bharat Net Project, formerly known as National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) was launched by Central Government in October, 2011 with an aim to deploy high-speed optical fibre cables across rural areas of India.

  • Its ultimate goal is to provide broadband connectivity to all 2.5 Lakh Gram Panchayats in India.
  • The project is being implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL), a special purpose vehicle (SPV).
  • BBNL has assigned the execution work to three government owned companies – Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCI) and RailTel Corporation of India (RailTel).
  • Total project cost of BharatNet is estimated to be around 45000 crore, out of which Rs. 11200 crore have been used for the phase 1.
  • Under the ongoing Phase 1, one lakh gram panchayats will have broadband connectivity by end of 2017.

More Details about Phase 2 of BharatNet Project:

Total financial outlay for Phase 2 is around Rs. 34,000 crore.Under Phase 2, BSNL will roll out optical fibre in eight states that were not covered under the first phase. These eight states are Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim.Government launches BharatNet phase 2 project.jpg

  • Contract for Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Odisha has been awarded to Power Grid Corporation of India.
  • It has been estimated that during the rollout of Phase 2 of BharatNet, employment of 10 crore mandays will be generated.
  • Besides, post completion of phase 2, optical fibre footprint in India will be doubled from current level.
  • Under this project, government is offering bandwidth to telecom operators at 75 per cent lower rate than they currently buy it.
  • Around 6-7 lakh wifi hotspots will be added and each gram panchayats will have 2-5 hotpsots.
  • As some of the wifi hotspots may not be commercially viable in the beginning, Government will provide viability gap funding of around 3600 crore to telecom operators.