Telecom minister Manoj Sinha today set the target of achieving 11 per cent market share for the state-owned BSNL within 12 months. “This time, we have seen a growth of 0.3 per cent in the market share. Next time when we meet, it should not be less than 10 (per cent). I expect it to be 10.5 per cent, but if it crosses 11 per cent, we will take whatsoever special steps required for BSNL,” Sinha said at an agreement signing ceremony between BSNL and USOF for wi-fi services. The market share of BSNL has increased to 9.35 per cent, from 9.05 per cent a year ago. In percentage terms, the growth works out to 3.3 per cent. Under an agreement signed between BSNL and the Universal Service Obligation Fund, a corpus for rural telecom services, the company will install 25,000 wi-fi hotspots in rural areas with an outlay of Rs 942 crore within four months. BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said the project cost includes operation expenses for three years.
“The MoU says six months, but Shrivastava has advanced it… to four months. I hope these 25,000 wi-fi hotspots will be installed across our 25,000 rural exchanges in four months,” Sinha said. Saying a lot is at stake, the minister directed BSNL officials to complete phase one of broadband services under the BharatNet project by June 30. “In any case, we have to complete first phase (of BharatNet) by June 30. I don’t want anyone to come up and say even 1 kilometre of the work is left. We have to keep the target of lighting up (activating broadband in) 1,000 villages per day. Many social transformation is dependent on it,” Sinha said.