Union Government set to launch BharatNet phase 2 project

Joann Johnston
November 13, 2017

On Monday (November 13), the government launched the second phase of BharatNet with an ambitious goal of laying 20 lakh kilometres of optic fibre connectivity for Rs 42,000 crore. Phase 1 of the project, under which 100K Global Positioning System were to be connected, will be completed by the end of this year. By December 2017 it will be fully completed. The second phase is expected to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats.

Telecom operators like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone have evinced interest in providing services under BharatNet, she said, adding that the government will give a support of Rs 3,600 crore to telecom service operators for rolling out Wi-Fi in villages.

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

The Minister exhorted that every one of us-the states governments, private sector players, TSPs, Internet, Technology and Digital Services Companies, Media, Academia, Civil Society, Do-gooders, change makers to work together for making this a success.

By December 2017, all 1, 00, 000 Global Positioning System will be operational on the BharatNet infrastructure. DoT, in collaboration with service providers, plans to demonstrate various models that could possibly be adopted for these services. As of today, nearly 90,000 installations have been completed and Services are expected to commence in 80,000 Global Positioning System shortly. Phase 1 of the project, under which 100k Gram Panchayats were to be connected, will be completed by the end of this year.

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

The Telecom Ministry will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with seven states - Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Jharkhand.

These states will roll out the project on their own with partial funding from the central government.

BharatNet, earlier known as National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project, is part of Narendra Modi government's Digital India initiatives, which also include setting up of SWAN (State Wide Area Network) for government offices and NKN (National Knowledge Network) for all educational institutes. It will also generate employment of 10 crore mandays during the project rollout.

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