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Mechie

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Explainer: What is the BharatNet program and what is its status of implementation?

Connecting every village & every rural household with broadband internet has been on the agenda of every government in the last decade. The UPA launched the National Optical Fiber Network which the NDA renamed as BharatNet. What is this program and what is the current status of implementation? Here are thedetails.

In her budget speech on 01 February 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the government’s vision is to provide digital connectivity to all public institutions at Gram Panchayat level. For the same, the government has proposed to allocate ₹ 6000 crores in 2020-21 to ‘BharatNet’ programme to link one lakh gram panchayats by providing Fibre to the Home connections (FTTH).

BharatNet programme was earlier known as National Optical Fiber Network during the UPA

With a vision to connect over 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats across the country, the Manmohan Singh led UPA government initiated the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) programme in 2011. Like in the case of a few other schemes, the Modi government renamed the programme as BharatNet programme. The programme aims at taking broadband connectivity to every nook and corner of the country by using optical fiber. It is considered the biggest rural telecom project in the world. The project is now an integral part of the current government’s Digital India initiative- the flagship programme to empower citizens digitally and to bridge the digital gap between rural and urban India.

Through BharatNet, the government envisages providing a minimum of 100 Mbps bandwidth at each Gram Panchayat so that online services can be accessed by everyone, especially those in rural India. This includes e-governance, e-learning, e-banking, e-commerce and e-health services. The Infrastructure is a national asset and non-discriminatory access will be provided to all telecom service providers. In short, the central government is laying broadband internet infrastructure that can be used by governments and service providers.

BBNL manages and takes care of the operation of BharatNet

Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) is a special purpose vehicle, set up by the government of India under the Department of Telecommunications for management, establishment, and operation of BharatNet. It was incorporated in 2012 as a PSU under the Companies Act.

Nonetheless, the first phase of connecting more than one lakh panchayats was completed in only December 2017. The implementation was undertaken by three Central PSUs, namely, BSNL, RailTel, and Powergrid. Currently, phase – II to connect the remaining 1.5 lakh panchayats is under implementation. The government is expecting to complete the project by August 2021.

Phase II of the project is currently under execution

Under Phase -II, implementation is done through the State Model, Private Sector Model, and CPSU Model. Not only will this phase include an optimum mix of channels for connectivity (Optical Fibre Cables, Radio and Satellites), but will also be providing last-mile connectivity through Wi-Fi or similar technology to ensure that internet is available at the home/office. This is based on the recommendations of the committee on National Open Fiber Network which submitted its report in 2015.   

About eight states have opted for State-led model while the satellite model is being implemented mostly in states which have a difficult terrain. Uttar Pradesh is implementing the project through both BSNL (CPSU Led) and PPP Model.

As on 06 March 2020, Optical Fiber Cables has been laid for over 4.27 lakh kilometres connecting more than 1.5 Lakh gram panchayats. Around 1.37 lakh of these have been made service ready as per the latest data on BBNL website.

The initial estimate for the entire project was ₹ 20,000 crores. As on 07 July 2014, USOF had released a grant of ₹ 919 crores and BBNL had utilized only ₹ 463 crores in the project. The committee on the NOFN re-estimated the total cost of the project at ₹ 72,778 crores- more than three times the initial estimate after the NDA came to power.

https://factly.in/explainer-what-is-the-bharatnet-program-and-what-is-the-status-of-implementation/

Mechie

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T-Fiber network to be completed in 10 months: KTR

IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao stated that digital infrastructure was proving to be a game changer in the fight against COVID-19. He asked the T-Fiber team to ensure that the entire project work is completed within next 10 months, to provide reliable broadband connectivity and facilitate seamless Work-from-Home option for the IT and allied sectors in the post-Covid world. He said once ready, the potential of T-Fiber network will be enormous in delivering the citizen services across the State.

Reviewing the progress of T-Fiber network project here on Tuesday, Rama Rao said the importance of a robust digital infrastructure was once again validated in the form of increased demand for online education, online healthcare and e-commerce services during the current pandemic. He directed the Master System Integrators to speed up the project execution and assured to review the Right of Way (RoW) Act to ensure brisk progress of work. Once completed, the T-Fiber network has a lot of potential to revolutionise delivery of online Education, tele-Health and Agriculture services in the State by enabling high speed broadband connectivity and digital content reliably and seamlessly.

Rama Rao directed the officials to bring all the existing network infrastructure and the State data centre under T-Fiber. He also wanted them to include all Municipal Corporations and Municipalities in the scope of T-Fiber. He felt that T-Fiber network will help transform the delivery of G2G (government to government) and G2C (government to citizens) services across the State, especially in rural areas by connecting Government institutions, enterprises and households.

https://telanganatoday.com/t-fiber-network-to-be-completed-in-10-months-ktr

Mechie

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Telecom giants eagerly waiting for T-Fiber infrastructure in Telangana

All major telecom companies have expressed their interest to the State government, sources said.

If all goes well, big telecom firms like Jio, Airtel and Vodafone would soon lease the infrastructure laid down under T-Fiber to provide high-speed internet to the people of the State. All major telecom companies have expressed their interest to the State government, sources said.

Speaking to Express, Information Technology, Electronics and Communication (ITEC) Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan said, “All major telecom firms are eagerly waiting for the project to be completed. Once the infrastructure is in place, they would want to partner with us.”

Under T-Fiber, the State government is laying optic fibre cables across Telangana. About 68,000 km of ducts for the optic fibre cables have already been laid by leveraging the trenches dug for drinking-water pipelines under Mission Bhagiratha.

T-Fiber will only provide the infrastructure and not act as an internet service provider (ISP), except for government-to-government (G2G) and government-to-citizen (G2C) services. This is reiterated in a T-Fiber booklet, which says, “(T-Fiber) shall provision bandwidth and lease infrastructure to private players on non-discriminatory and non-monopolistic manner without entering into the competition (except in the delivery of G2C and G2G services).”

Once the development of T-Fiber is completed, telecom firms will pay the State government to take the infrastructure on lease. For instance, a telecom giant recently announced high-speed fibre-optic internet plans. For the company to reach out to rural pockets, T-Fiber would be an attractive option, sources said.

Apart from the 68,000 km of ducts that have already been laid down by leveraging Mission Bhagiratha trenches, T-Fiber will take up additional ducting and trenching on around 15,000 km in the State. After the laying of ducts is completed, the government will lay the fibre optic cables.
https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2019/aug/16/telecom-giants-eagerly-waiting-for-t-fiber-infrastructure-in-telangana-2019579.html

Mechie

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Fiber line map for all districts in all states

http://bbnl.nic.in/fiberdata.aspx?langid=1
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