On Tuesday, the Indian government announced that all Indian villages will get broadband access by 2022. The mission attracted investments of about Rs 7 lakh crore through various stakeholders. “The National Broadband Mission will facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services across the country, especially in rural and remote areas,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Telecom and IT Minister. He also added that the government will also work towards improving the existing mobile and Internet quality in the country.
National Broadband Mission plan
The mission’s investments of roughly Rs 7 lakh crore will be used in laying out the planned 30 lakh kms of Optical Fiber Cables. The investments include Rs 70,000 crore from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
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Cell tower numbers will go up as tower density is planned to be increased to 1 tower per 1,000 units of population. The current ratio is 0.42 towers. The number of towers, currently at 5.56 lakhs will go up to 10 lakhs. The mission will also increase the number of fiber-enabled towers from 30 percent to 70 percent. “We will also take the speeds up to 50 Mbps is a phased manner,” added Prasad.
The government will work closely with States and UTs to maintain consistent policies regarding the digital infrastructure expansion. This includes the Right of Way (RoW) approvals required for the cable layouts.
The mission is a great step towards digitizing the whole country. While online services like DigiLocker made paperwork much easier for citizens, they are only limited to those who reside in areas with internet connectivity. Bringing broadband services to each corner of the country will allow many more citizens to use such services. This will also make processes across various sectors faster and more efficient than ever. There’s also the immense growth offered by exposure to the internet.