BharatNet project

MAY 2

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Why in news?

  • A flagship scheme of the Digital India campaign, the ambitious BharatNet project launched to connect India’s gram panchayats with high-speed broadband has long been marred by delays.

More about the news:

  • It was started in 2011 as the National Optical Fibre Network and was later renamed in 2014 as BharatNet.
  • In 2012, Bharat Broadband Network Limited or BBNL - a special purpose vehicle -was set up to implement the project.
  • But, over the years, it has earned a dubious reputation for missing several deadlines set by the government.
  • With BBNL not delivering the desired results, the government now plans to merge BBNL with BSNL. The merger is expected to yield better synergies and coordination.

About BharatNet Project:

  • It aims to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.
  • 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.
  • The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to the rural India.
  • It will be rolled out with the additional funding by state governments to connect all gram panchayats in India.

Phases:

  • The project is a Centre-State collaborative project, with the States contributing free Rights of Way for establishing the Optical Fibre Network.
  • The three-phase implementation of the BharatNet project is as follows:
    • The first phase envisages providing one lakh gram panchayats with broadband connectivity by laying underground optic fibre cable (OFC) lines.
    • The second phase will provide connectivity to all 2,50,500 gram panchayats in the country using an optimal mix of underground fiber, fiber over power lines, radio and satellite media.
    • In the third phase, state-of-the-art, future-proof network, including fiber between districts and blocks, with ring topology to provide redundancy would be created.

PRACTICE QUESTION:

Consider the following statements regarding Bharat Net:

1. It is funded by Asian Development Bank loans.

2. It aims to provide broadband connectivity to all gram panchayats of India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a)1 only

(b)2 only

(c)Both 1 and 2

(d)Neither 1 nor 2

Answer