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Project 'BharatNet'
Jun 04, 2015

The government has digitally connected 20 thousand village panchayats across the country under the Digital India Programme and has decided to overhaul the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) broadband project as BharatNet.

The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project was initiated in 2011 and funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh Gram panchayats of India at a cost of Rs.20,000 crore. It had to connect all Gram panchayats by the end of 2013 but later it was deferred to September 2015 by UPA government.

Key Features

  • A committee was set up by the PMO to analyse the structure of the NOFN, which was initiated by the UPA regime.

  • The panel has made 80 recommendations including renaming of project as 'BhartNet' which should be completed by 2017.

  • The panel has suggested make connectivity ring like architecture at district, block and village panchayat level and mix various technology such as—optical fibre network along with microwave back-haul spectrum and satellite for regions with difficult terrain and interconnect them.

  • It will subsume all the ongoing and proposed broadband network projects taking the BharatNet project outlay to about Rs 72,000 crore.

  • Under BharatNet, retail broadband services should be available at prices below Rs 150 a month in poorer states and around Rs 250 per month in more economically advanced state, with speeds ranging between 2 Mbps and 20 Mbps for all households.

  • The committee has recommended on-demand capacity to all institutions.

  • Government has given option to roll out broadband network as per three models—current model operated by CPSUs, SPV or state run and private sector led model to speed up broadband network reach in the country.

  • Under BharatNet, broadband availability will be 99.9 percent compared to about 96 per provisioned under NOFN.

  • The BharatNet project proposes broadband connectivity to households under village panchayats and even to government institutions at district level.

Seven states have proposed to come up with their own model to roll out broadband network proposed under BharatNet prorgamme. Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have already been talking about it. Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal said that they will develop their own model for broadband network rollout as some expressed displeasure over the work of central public sector companies involved in National Optical Fibre Network.



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