On October 26, 2017, Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications announced that first phase of the Bharat Net project (National Optic Fibre Network) will be completed by December 2017, and will thereby provide internet access to 100000 gram panchayats across India.
- This announcement was made that at the fourth edition of the ‘i-Bharat 2017’ conference held in New Delhi on October 26, 2017.
- The conference was organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in association with Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- Theme of ‘i-Bharat 2017’ was ‘ICT Elucidations for Unserved and Unsolved.
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.
- Besides providing digital connectivity, Bharat Net project will also inculcate projects such as a ‘DigiGaon’ to provide tele-medicine, education and skills by using digital technology.
- 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).
Bharat Net – Financial Allocation and Current Status:
Under Union Budget 2017-18, Rs.10000 crore has been allocated to Bharat Net Project.
- The project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF) which has been set up to provide telecom services in rural and remote areas of India.
- As announced by Ms. Sundarajan on October 26, 2017, Bharat Net has now reached 83,000 gram panchayats.