Villages to get access to high speed internet
Indian villages and remote areas will now have access to high speed internet. An investment of Rs 20,000 crore ($3.3 billion) is being made in a project to link 2,50,000 village councils. The aim of the project is to transform several aspects of a citizen’s life by allowing access to high-speed video, data, internet and telephone services, which will be deployed in a host of areas and felicitate e-services in different fields such as education, business, health and e-governance services and entertainment, according to CNN-IBN.
N Ravi Shanker chairman and managing director of Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL), which has set up by the government, is at present trying to assess the hardware requirements of the village panchayats. “We have completed 70 per cent of the groundwork, it will take another two-three months to conclude this survey. Then we will know if we have correctly assessed the requirement at 500,000 km of optic fibre to connect these 250,000 village panchayats (village councils). Work will start soon after.” Shankar was quoted as saying.
Optical fibre cable connectivity is available in all state capitals, districts and blocks. Cables will now be laid to take it to the village panchayat level as part of the project to link over 650,000 villages through the National Optical Fibre Network. Three state-run firms in the optic fibre business for their own networks are running the survey, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), RailTel Corp and Power Grid Corp. The project is said to be completed by 2014.
“We’ve allocated various states to these companies. The work at around 180,000 panchayats is being done by BSNL, and for 35,000 each is being done by Power Grid and RailTel. We have also started floating tenders under four broad categories, optical fibre cable and accessories, ducts, electronic equipment, and trenching and laying. For cables, we have received applications from 12-13 manufacturers. We wish to finalise this aspect this month itself,” Shankar said.
Bharat Broadband was set up as a special project in 2012 to oversee the National Optical Fibre Network project using the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). The fund which at present officially stands at Rs.27,949.91 crore ($4.7 billion), is the mandatory amount of revenue telecom operators have to set aside for rural telephony.
According to the National Telecom Policy of 2012, a mandate was given for affordable and reliable broadband on demand by 2015, with a target of 175 million connections by 2017 and 600 million by 2020.
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