State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has undertaken an ambitious Rs.20,000 crore project to establish telecom links in all villages across India and to take e-governance to rural and far-flung areas in the next two years, a BSNL official said.
“The Rs.20,000 crore project for the creation of a ‘National Optical Fibre Network’ (NOFN) for providing Internet and other telecommunications connectivity to villages has been launched recently. It would be completed by the next two years,” BSNL CMD R.K. Upadhyaya told reporters. Also Read - Jio maintains lead in 4G download speed, Vi in upload in May: TRAI
“Once the NOFN was created, it would help in offering governance, banking and health and other basic services online up to the villages and rural areas,” he said. Also Read - BSNL launches a new cheap Rs 499 broadband plan to take on Airtel Xtreme, JioFiber
According to him, the tele-density in urban areas in India is almost 100 percent while in the rural areas, it is 37 percent. Also Read - BSNL offers 100 minutes free calling with select plans to aid COVID-19, Cyclone Tauktae affected users
“After NOFN, the existing tele-density would be increased to a great extent in the rural areas,” said Upadhyaya, who came here Saturday and held a series of meetings with Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and other senior officials.
BSNL has also undertaken to improve the telecommunications connectivity in the northeastern region by upgrading the existing Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) network and hiring PGCIL (Power Grid Corporation of India Limited) and RailTel cable network, he said.
“BSNL has laid OFC from Kolkata to (Bangladesh capital) Dhaka and the network would be further extended up to northeastern states in near future via Bangladesh,” he added.
Upadhyaya said that the BSNL has OFC network with some European countries, Nepal, Myanmar and Bhutan. “Earlier the link was put in place with Pakistan too but now it is non-operational.”
He said BSNL accounts to 80 percent of landline and 90 percent of broadband connections in the country, while around 30 percent of the nation’s mobile connections are covered by BSNL.
During the past four years, the BSNL could not procure any GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) equipment, he said, adding that tenders have been issued recently for 15 million GSM line connections.