The BharatNet project, which is funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund, aims to deliver a broadband connection to all the 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats in the country.
BharatNet is being executed by three PSUs of Bharat Broadband Network Limited — BSNL, Power Grid Corporation and RailTel — and had intended to deliver internet facilities to 1 lakh Gram Panchayats in its first phase by March 2017.
But there seems to be a discrepancy in the government’s policy as it was earlier reported that the 100 percent internet penetration in Rural India will be a reality by December 2018.
Now the date for the completion of Phase- II of the BharatNet project has been extended to March 2019. By then, the government plans to install broadband facilities in the remaining 1.5 lakh Gram Panchayats.
As on July 23, 2017, under the BharatNet project, OFC laying was completed in 100,299 Gram Panchayats and broadband connectivity was provided in 25,426 of them.
Given the aforementioned statistics, it seems quite certain that laying the infrastructure for the broadband facilities isn’t enough, getting them started matters too and hence Sinha pointing out the 600 million figure in 2020 makes sense.
Sinha said the provision of last-mile access to the network and broadband service provisioning shall be through Wi-Fi or any other broadband access technologies in all 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats in the country.