Government’s Rs 72,000-crore nationwide broadband network program BharatNet is likely to be submitted for the Cabinet approval within two months, a senior Department of Telecom official has said. Also Read - Top 5 Airtel Xstream Fiber broadband plans: Unlimited data, calling benefits, OTT platforms and moreAlso Read - Vi (Vodafone Idea) is now focusing on growing broadband business with You Broadband
“Internal discussions are going on. We expect to place it [BharatNet] before Telecom Commission next month. If it is approved, then probably, we should be able to submit it to the concerned authorities for final approval by Cabinet within two months,” DoT Additional Secretary and BBNL Chairman and Managing Director Aruna Sundararajan told PTI. Also Read - SITI Broadband 200Mbps plan at Rs 899: Details, competition and more
Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) is a special purpose vehicle managing roll out of the project.
A committee set up under the Telecom Ministry has remodeled the Rs 21,000-crore National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) started under the UPA government to connect all 2.5 lakh village panchayats with high-speed broadband network.
Under BharatNet, there is a scope to connect urban households (by state government) with broadband speed of up to 20 megabit per second, while NOFN was limited to village panchayat-level only. The NDA government had revised the timeline for completion of NOFN roll out by December 2016, but the committee estimates that BharatNet will be implemented by 2017-end.
“BharatNet is a new architecture. It is using a lot of other media to provide connectivity then just OFC. It also has a special purpose vehicle model where states can add value to the project… 18 states have so far agreed to set up SPVs for this project,” Sundararajan said.
The committee has recommended that in areas where household density is less than 150 and where the distance of the village panchayat from the Block headquarter is over 10 km, satellite media be used to provide broadband connection.
Under the SPV model, the states would have the freedom to provide minimum bandwidths higher than 2mbps, say 10-20mbps for households and 100 mbps to 1 gbps to businesses. BBNL estimates that in the first year of implementation the project can result in the benefit of Rs 66,465 crore.