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Government rolls out BharatNet Phase 2, aims 100% connectivity by 2020

13 November 2017

The second phase of BharatNet project with an outlay of Rs 31,000 crore and a mandate to provide high-speed broadband to all panchayats by March 2019 got off the block today.

BharatNet is a project of national importance to establish, a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.

The companies that will be working with the government on last-mile connectivity include Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio, among others. DoT, in collaboration with service providers, plans to demonstrate various models that could possibly be adopted for these services.

The TSPs will be providing last-mile connectivity in villages (fibre to home) after taking the broadband fibre from BharatNet at the Global Positioning System. Telecom service providers, on their part, will set up centers in rural areas to demonstrate service delivery on BharatNet infrastructure.

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Modi's government renamed it to BharatNet and rushed its roll-out.

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.

DoT will also sign Memorandum of Understanding with States for the implementation of BharatNet Phase II during the Conference.

For instance, Airtel has promised to adopt 30,500 Global Positioning System to connect its 4G broadband network using BharatNet's optical fibre. It will also generate employment of 10 crore mandays during the project rollout.

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

Sundarajan added, "India, at present, has 38,000 WiFi hotspots, around 600k to 700k WiFi hotspots will be added with 2-5 hotspots in each panchayats. So, we will provide viability gap funding of around Rs 3,600 crore to telecom operators", The Economics Times quoted, Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, as saying.

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

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Government rolls out BharatNet Phase 2, aims 100% connectivity by 2020