BharatNet 2: Central government will sign MoUs with the states

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The government on Monday launched the second phase of the BharatNet project with an outlay of Rs 31,000 crore, aiming to bring high-speed broadband to all gram panchayats by March 2019, PTI reported.

Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said BharatNet Phase I is 90 percent completed.

Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad described the launch of BharatNet phase-2 as a momentous occasion, Union communications minister Manoj Sinha lauded Telangana state and urged other states to emulate it.

"Under the project, we will provide 1 gbps (gigabuit per second) bandwidth capacity at panchayat level". The company says it has already set up 4G base tower stations in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and has already been made live providing high-speed 4G mobile broadband services to people through BharatNet.

The DoT had significantly increased the pace of implementation during the last six months to complete Phase I. Under BharatNet Phase I, Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connectivity has reached in over 1, 00, 000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) across different States in the country. More than 85,000 Global Positioning System are service-ready now and 75,000 Global Positioning System can start providing services to the villages now, he added.

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Under Phase I, 1 lakh Global Positioning System or 3 lakh villages were connected.

"We are truly moving towards a digital future".

The TSPs will be providing last-mile connectivity in villages (fibre to home) after taking the broadband fibre from BharatNet at the Global Positioning System.

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.

According to government estimation, the second or final phase of BharatNet will double the existing optical fibre footprint in the country.

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"When it was launched previously it was actually no fun for any one".

"When the project started it didn't take off as planned".

The proposal for offering Rs 3600 crore subsidy to telecos assisting the government in the BharatNet project was originally presented before the Union Cabinet in July.

RJio paid the highest advance subscription fee of Rs 13 crore to provide broadband services at 30,000 village panchayats, Bharti Airtel will cover 30,500 village panchayats while Vodafone and Idea would offer services in 2,000 and 1,000 villages, respectively.

Telangana Fiber Grid programme is all set to a get a fresh boost with the Central government signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Telangana State government and allotting Rs 1,243 crore under Phase-II of BharatNet programme which is a hi-speed rural broadband network.

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