The central government is launching the second phase of the BharatNet project, with an outlay of Rs34,000 crore, aiming to provide high-speed broadband connectivity in all panchayats by the end of March 2019.
DoT will also sign Memorandum of Understanding with States for the implementation of BharatNet Phase II during the Conference.
The MoUs were signed during the national conference on "BharatNet" for launch of Phase-II in New Delhi on Monday in the presence of Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of State for Communication Manoj Sinha, and other top dignitaries. Under BharatNet phase 2, around 6-7 lakh Wi-fi hotspots will be added with 2-5 hotspots in each panchayat. Phase II of BharatNet is expected to connect 1.5 lakh Global Positioning System.
"The progress of service readiness has picked up to such an extent that in October 2017 around 25,000 gram panchayats have already been made service ready".
Under the Phase I, 1 lakh Global Positioning System or 3 lakh villages were connected.
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"We are truly moving towards a digital future". This is a new element of the BharatNet strategy as the mode of connectivity by aerial OFC has several advantages, including lower cost, speedier implementation, easy maintenance and utilization of existing power line infrastructure.
BharatNet, earlier known as National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project, is part of Narendra Modi government's Digital India initiatives, which also include setting up of SWAN (State Wide Area Network) for government offices and NKN (National Knowledge Network) for all educational institutes.
"When it was launched previously it was actually no fun for any one".
"When the project started it didn't take off as planned. We will tomorrow launch Phase II of BharatNet to connect 1.5 lakh gram panchayats (GP) with high-speed broadband by March 2019", Sundararajan told reporters here.
Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is also signing agreements with Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand that have shown interest in participating in phase 2 of BharatNet with partial funding from the government. The Centre will provide total fund support of around Rs 10,000 crore to the state governments.