BharatNet project - Empowering Gram Panchayats of India

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BharatNet Phase I is set to complete by the end of 2017. Phase II of BharatNet is expected to connect 1.5 lakh Global Positioning System.

Presently, services have started in 48,000 villages and 75,000 villages are ready with the infrastructure.

"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".

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.

"We want to bring revolution in schools, like there was operation blackboard in 1970s".

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Union Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha said on Monday that government will provide all the necessary and requisite support for fulfilling the dream of a fully connected and truly empowered India very soon.

With BharatNet Phase I operational, state governments will be sharing their plans for leveraging the broadband infrastructure.

The project, then called the National Optical Fibre Network, was approved by the previous UPA government in October 2011.

Unlike the first phase, the government is keen to finish the second stage and has strategised to lay underground fibre and aerial fibre depending on the area.

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

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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.

With optical fibre connectivity now available at 1 lakh gram panchayats under Phase I of the project, the Central government will sign MoUs with the states for staring BharatNet Phase II.

Reliance Jio paid the highest advance subscription fee of Rs 13 crore to provide broadband services at 30,000 gram panchayats, with a commitment to buy bandwidth in every panchayat from the government as it expands the project. "So, we will provide viability gap funding of around Rs 3,600 crore to telecom operators", The Economics Times quoted, Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, as saying.

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.

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