Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved BharatNet implementation strategy through PPP Model to cover inhabited villages in the country across 16 States. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “Viability gap funding support of up to Rs 19,041 crores has been approved. All remaining States/UTs to be covered.”
The project will enable the extension of BharatNet broadband connectivity to all remaining villages.
For the uninitiated, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day last year announced broadband connectivity to all inhabited villages in 1,000 days. Out of 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats, 1.56 lakh Gram Panchayats have been made service ready by May 31, 2021.
Under the project, implementation of BharatNet in the PPP model in 16 states (bundled into nine packages) is to be done on a viability gap funding basis. An additional Rs 19,041 crore is being provided for the project.
The total outlay will now be Rs 61,109 crore including the already approved amount of Rs 42,068 crore in 2017. The expansion ad up-gradation of BharatNet will cover Gram Panchayats and inhabited villages.
The second and final phase of the BharatNet project was launched in 2017. Under the project, the government aims to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats through 10 lakh kilometres of additional optical fiber and give bandwidth to telecom players at nearly 75 per cent cheaper price for broadband and wifi services in rural areas.