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Second phase of BharatNet roll-out to be completed by March 2019, says Manoj Sinha

Phase 2 is planned to connect the remaining 150,000 GPs,using an optimal mix of media, by March 31, 2019

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While inaugurating the new corporate office of Bharat Broadband Network (BBNL) in New Delhi, Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha has said that BBNL has played a key role in leading the successful implementation of the BharatNet project for digitally connecting all 250,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country.

“The objective of this flagship project of our government is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking and other services to citizens in every part of our country, on a non-discriminatory basis. We have completed approximately 50 per cent of the project, and the remainder is targeted for completion by March 2019,” he said.

The new BBNL corporate office, spread over 36,597 sq ft, has a designated area where students from academic institutions can get a glimpse of BharatNet.

Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary (Telecom), who was present on the occasion, added, “The consolidation of BBNL operations in this new office has come at the right time – when the focus of the organisation is expanding from implementation, to also cover critical areas such as utilisation and maintenance of the BharatNet infrastructure.”

In Phase 1 of BharatNet implementation, the target of completing 100,000 GPs was achieved in December 2017. Whereas, Phase 2 is planned to connect the remaining 150,000 GPs,using an optimal mix of media, by March 31, 2019. Phase 2 is being implemented through three models – state-led model, CPSU model, and private sector model.

Further, provision has been made for last mile connectivity in all 250,000 GPs through viability gap funding. Every GP shall have on an average five Wi-Fi Access Points (APs), including three APs (on average) for public institutions such as educational centres, health centres, post offices, police stations, etc.

A tender for provisioning of Wi-Fi services has been floated by BBNL, after consultation with TSPs and ISPs, for wider participation.

BharatNet is being utilised by BSNL, CSC SPV, TSPs and ISPs for delivery of services at Gram Panchayats. BSNL has provisioned Wi-Fi hotspots at 1,742 GPs and FTTH connections at 13,513 GPs in various states. As part of project implementation, BBNL has provided for provisioning of an FTTH connection by BSNL at every GP of Phase 1, for a period of one year, to provide an experience of broadband services to the people at the GP level. Such connections have already been provided to 70,238 GPs.

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