BSNL Will Merge With This Govt Company; Will Get Rs 60,000 Crore Of Assets, Funds

BBNL is the implementing agency of the BharatNet project
BBNL is the implementing agency of the BharatNet project

The Centre is mulling over the idea to merge all of its telecom operations under a single umbrella. In doing so, it has plans of merging the operations, assignments and assets of the Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) with the state-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

BBNL Could Merge with BSNL

Almost 10 years after setting up BBNL, or BharatNet, the Government is thinking about merging its operations with the state-owned BSNL, before the ongoing financial year completes, stated officials privy to the matter.

The proposal for the same will be placed in front of the Union Cabinet soon, while a cabinet note is currently being prepared, stated a news source.

BBNL is the implementing agency of the BharatNet project, for which so far close to Rs 24,000 crore has been disbursed by the Universal Service Obligation Fund. 

Of the total 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country, 1.71 lakh gram panchayats have been successfully connected so far.

According to a Financial Express report, the BharatNet project’s scope was further extended in July, 2020, after deciding that all six lakh villages in the country would be connected with optic fibre, for which the government would provide Rs 19,041 crore as viability gap funding.

As a result, the project’s cost increased to Rs 61,109 crore, including the Rs 42,068 crore sum approved in 2017.

BBNL is overseen by the Ministry of Communications, and according to the proposed merger, a new division will be formed by the state-owned telecom major BSNL, to mind the work undergoing in the aforementioned development.

Another point to be noted as per the merger of the two companies is that BSNL could possibly gain access to funds worth Rs 60,000 crore of the BBNL.

Earlier, BSNL used to receive about Rs 400 crore every year to maintain the BharatNet fibre but it could not provide quality services. As a result, BBNL did not extend the contract, and instead gave it away to CSC SPV.

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