BharatNet Phase 2: Telcos Will Receive Rs 3600 Cr Subsidy For A Massive Rural Wifi Push
Once BharatNet’s entire objectives are achieved, Digital India mission will witness a new surge and a new enthusiasm
Govt. of India has decided to provide subsidies worth Rs 3600 crore to private telecom players, in order to push rural wifi across India. This massive push has been planned under the phase 2 of ambitious BharatNet project.
As per reports coming in, phase 1 of the BharatNet project is all set to complete by the end of 2017, and things are looking positive from here.
Once BharatNet’s entire objectives are achieved, Digital India mission will witness a new surge and a new enthusiasm.
BharatNet Phase 2: Subsidies Of Rs 3600 Cr For Telcos
BharatNet, the ambitious mission of Govt. of India, under which every gram panchayat and every nook and corner of India is supposed to get linked with high speed broadband Internet, is now entering into Phase 2, from today.
Under this phase, Govt. of India will provide subsidies of Rs 3600 crore to private telecom players such as Airtel, Jio, Vodafone and Idea, and enable them to further expand the program.
BharatNet’s phase 2 is about expanding WiFi connectivity across all villages, using the fiber optic cable network which have been placed under Phase 1.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) would be soon signed between Govt. and private telecom players for the same
Interestingly, DoT will also sign MoUs with states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand who are venturing out into Phase 2 of BharatNet without any funding from the Centre.
As per the objectives of the Phase 2, 1.5 lakh gram panchayats across India will be connected with high speed broadband Internet by March, 2019.
Under Phase 1 of the program, 1 lakh gram panchayats would have high speed broadband connectivity, and expected date of completion is December 31, 2017. Govt. will insure expense of Rs 11,200 crore for this phase.
Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said,
“We will launch phase 2 of BharatNet tomorrow to connect 1.5 lakh gram panchayats with high-speed broadband by March 2019. Phase 1 of the project, under which 1 lakh GPs were to be connected, will be completed by the end of this year. We expect telecom operators to provide at least 2 megabit per second speed to rural households,”
Rapid Wifi Expansion Under Phase 2 Of BharatNet
As per numbers shared by the Govt., there are 38,000 Wifi hotspots across rural India, which will be expanded to 6-7 lakh hotspots, as every gram panchayat will be empowered with 2-3 Wifi hotspots.
The broadband connectivity via optical fibre will be used to connect these villages with high speed Internet.
Govt. has already allocated a budget of Rs 10,000 crore for this phase 2 of BharatNet, which includes subsidy of Rs 3600 crore to cover up for financial loss for private telcos.
“India, at present, has 38,000 Wi-fi hotspots. Under BharatNet phase 2, around 6-7 lakh Wi-fi hotspots will be added with 2-5 hotspots in each panchayat. Some of the Wi-fi hotspots may not be commercially viable initially. So, we will provide viability gap funding of around Rs 3,600 crore to telecom operators”
In fact, Airtel has already connected their 4G network with BharatNet’s optical fibres in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and around 35,000 gram panchayats are benefitting from this unique partnership between Govt. of India and Airtel.
The same would be now witnessed across India, and participants would be other telecom players as well.
Under Phase 2, DoT will expand optical files in those 8 states as well, which were not covered under Phase 1. These states are: Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim. And, PowerGrid Corporation will set up the network in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Odisha
As per an ICRIER study, once BharatNet mission is over, and every gram panchayat has been connected with optical fibre, and WiFi hubs pots implemented, it will add Rs 4.5 lakh crore to the GDP, as every 10% increase in Internet penetration increases GDP by 3.3%.