Bharat-net Project

Context: Recently, the Union Cabinet approved Rs 1.39 lakh crore for modernising the BharatNet project.
  • This initiative involves changing its execution strategy and providing fiber connections to the last mile through Village Level Entrepreneurs.
Tweaks in BharatNet Project Execution Strategy:
  • Village Level Entrepreneurs (Udyamis) Involvement: Partnering with Village Level Entrepreneurs (Udyamis), who will play a pivotal role in providing fiber connections to the last mile.
  • Speeding Up Connectivity Process: Government aims to expedite the process of connecting all 640,000 villages across India within the next 2.5 years. 
    • This acceleration aligns with the goal of enhancing digital connectivity and bridging the urban-rural digital divide.
  • 50:50 Revenue-Sharing Model: Taking a cue from private telecom operators like Airtel and Jio, the government will involve village level entrepreneurs or Udyamis to take the fiber connections to the homes on a 50:50 revenue-sharing basis.
  • Infrastructure Costs Borne by Government: The government will cover the expenses related to bringing the necessary infrastructure to the households, such as laying down the fiber connections and related hardware.
Role and Contribution of Village Level Entrepreneurs (Udyamis):
  • Maintenance and Operations Responsibilities: Village level entrepreneurs (Udyamis) will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance and operations of the home connections.
    • This includes addressing technical issues, conducting repairs, and ensuring uninterrupted service.
  • Addressing Consumer Complaints Udyamis: They will take charge of handling consumer complaints, particularly those related to fiber cuts or disruptions in connectivity.
  • Successful Pilot in 60,000 Villages: By involving local partners in the villages, the government managed to connect households effectively using this new approach.
  • Expected Employment Opportunities: The inclusion of Udyamis in the project is anticipated to create employment opportunities for approximately 250,000 individuals.
About Bharatnet Project:
  • It is the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fibre.
  • National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) which was launched in 2011 was renamed as Bharat Net Project in 2015.
    • NOFN was envisaged as an information superhighway through the creation of a robust middle-mile infrastructure for reaching broadband connectivity to Gram Panchayats.
  • Fund: The entire project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.
  • Implementing Agency: Bharat Broadband Network (BBNL).
    • BBNL is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by the Government of India under the Companies Act, 1956.
  • Merger into BSNL: Bharat Broadband Network (BBNL) was merged into BSNL in July last year.
News Source: The Indian Express

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *