To improve internet connectivity through mobile phones especially in the rural areas, there is a plan to equip towers with solar power kits so that they keep functioning even when there is no power supply, the government said today. During the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha also said the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) which was earlier in losses has posted an operating profit and more towers will be set up to improve the service and connectivity of the public sector enterprise. “There are around 4.61 lakh mobile towers in the country out of which BSNL has 66,771 mobile towers. Government has approved hiving off mobile tower assets of BSNL into a separate company fully owned by the BSNL. The subsidiary company may monetise its assets on achieving financial health and stability,” Sinha said. He also said the BSNL had submitted a proposal about providing 4G services which was being examined. Several members in the House raised concern over poor internet services through mobile phones especially in the rural areas.
The government is focussing on improving the mobile internet connectivity in the rural areas and the number of BSNL towers is being increased, the minister said. Sinha said that in 2011, there were 53,000 villages where there was no internet connectivity through mobile phones and the number has come down to 30,000. The Centre has asked the states to identify such villages so that connectivity can be provided, he said.