BharatNet project’s “Modified Implementation Strategy” received a nod from the Cabinet, which is intended to provide broadband connectivity by March 2019 to all gram panchayats. The Official source said, “The Cabinet has agreed to the BharatNet’s Modified Implementation Strategy toward the realization of visualization of Digital India.” The basic notion behind the project is to deliver all gram panchayats at least 100Mbps broadband connectivity in the country by using the combination of underground fiber, radio, aerial fiber, and satellite media.
The sanction involves a total projected spending of Rs 42,068 Crores for the execution of BharatNet, which will be supported by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). A part of this sum, precisely Rs 11,148 Crore, is the price of imparting connectivity in the initial phase to 1 Lakh gram panchayats and Rs 18,792 Crore is to provide connectivity in the subsequent phase to residual 1.5 Lakh gram panchayats.
The source added, “The remaining amount is for necessary undertakings not included in the primary BharatNet framework that consist of last-mile connectivity architecture, maintenance & operation, and substitution of BSNL’s low-quality fiber being utilized in the project between Block to gram panchayat.”The modified strategy comprises execution of the project by state agencies & states, CPSUs & private sector, and offering connectivity by “fusion of media” instead of only by underground optical fiber, which was the primary approach.
It also involves the last-mile connectivity for service delivery through Wi-Fi or another technology in all the gram panchayat. The source said, “Infrastructure formed under BharatNet will be shared, on a nondiscriminatory basis, with all groups of service providers. The implementation agency will also be accountable for operation maintenance, management, ideally for the lifespan of the project.”
The BharatNet Project’s Modified Implementation Strategy will allow rapid implementation of several mission mode e-governance projects of the State and Central governments. It will enable electronic services delivery to citizens of numerous e-commerce, e-governance, e-health, and e-education services. Overall, the project, that pursues to build network setup for broadband connectivity to the country’s all 2.5 Lakh gram panchayats, is being executed in a phased manner.