Bharti Airtel on Wednesday announced that it has joined hands with DoT (Department of Telecommunications) to boost broadband connections in rural India, by developing broadband experience centers with the help of BharatNet infrastructure.
Under the new initiative, Airtel has already come up with experience centers in three villages including Ghazipur, Gorakhpur and Varanasi districts of Uttar Pradesh. The company’s partnership with BharatNet, further leads it to 30,500 Gram Panchayats. These centers will not only enable citizens to experience broadband, but also benefit from them by getting access to related web services such as e-governance, e-health, e-banking and e-commerce. In the future, they will also be demonstrating artificial intelligence and IoT (Internet of Things) devices.
Gopal Vittal, Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Airtel said in a statement, “Access to broadband is a key enabler of inclusive economic growth and social well-being of rural inhabitants. We are pleased to support the commendable initiatives by the DoT to ensure broadband access for every Indian and in particular building the infrastructure backbone under BharatNet.”
For providing all the web-based services, Airtel has also partnered with Jiva Ayurveda for healthcare consultation, Takshilla E-Learning Services for educational content, and Amazon for Amazon Echo smart speakers. At present, Airtel claims to be providing these centers with 100Mbps speeds, thanks to the infrastructure provided by BharatNet programme.
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Moving forward, with the help of BharatNet infrastructure, DoT plans on enabling 2.5 lakh gram panchayat villages with fiber optic connectivity. At the moment, 1 lakh villages have already been connected, with the remaining 1.5 lakh villages being targeted to be completed by March 2019.