The bidding for the second phase of Bharat Net project - which entails broadband connectivity for the remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats - is likely to be completed by October 2017, according to an official source.
The bidding for the second phase of Bharat Net project – which entails broadband connectivity for the remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats – is likely to be completed by October 2017, according to an official source. The tenders for the network infrastructure of Bharat Net are likely to be floated by September and contracts are expected to be awarded by October, the official said. The official, who is familiar with the modalities of the Bharat Net project, said that six states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh have already submitted the detailed project report (DPR) for the second phase roll out. On Wednesday, the Cabinet had approved the ‘modified implementation strategy’ of BharatNet project for providing broadband connectivity to all gram panchayats by March 2019. The objective of the project is to provide minimum 100 mbps broadband connectivity to all gram panchayats in the country by using a mix of underground fibre, aerial fibre, radio and satellite media. The Cabinet approval entailed a total estimated expenditure of Rs 42,068 crore for the implementation of BharatNet, which will be funded from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). Of this, Rs 11,148 crore is the cost of providing connectivity to one lakh gram panchayats (GP) in the first phase and Rs 18,792 crore is for providing connectivity to remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats in second phase. The balance amount is for activities not covered in the initial Bharatnet framework, which include, last mile connectivity architecture, operation and maintenance and replacement of BSNL’s poor quality fibre being used in the project between Block to GP.
The modified strategy includes implementation of project by states and state agencies, private sector and CPSUs, and providing connectivity by “mix of media” rather than only by underground optical fibre, which was the initial strategy. It also entails last mile connectivity in every gram panchayat for service delivery on wi-fi or any other technology. Infrastructure created under BharatNet will be shared with all categories of service providers on non- discriminatory basis.
The implementation agency would also be responsible for management, operation maintenance, preferably for the life time of the project. The project will facilitate electronic delivery of services to citizens of various e-governance, e-commerce, e- education, and e-health services.
In all, the project seeks to create network infrastructure for broadband connectivity to all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country in a phased manner. The first phase entailing roll out to 1,00,000 gram panchayats was completed recently, after several delays.