BharatNet through Public-Private Partnership

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    Cabinet approves revised implementation strategy of BharatNet through Public-Private Partnership Model in 16 States with optical fibre connectivity to all inhabited villages

    About

    • BharatNet will now extend up to all inhabited villages beyond Gram Panchayats (GPs), in the said States.  
    • The revised strategy also includes creation, upgradation, operation, maintenance and utilization of BharatNet by the concessionaire who will be selected by a competitive international bidding process.  
    • The estimated maximum viability gap funding approved for the above PPP model is Rs. 19,041 crores.

    Significance

    • Enhanced Efficiency: It will leverage Private Sector efficiency for operation, maintenance, utilization and revenue generation and is expected to result in a faster rollout of BharatNet. 
    • Better access of e-services: Extension of reach of BharatNet to all inhabited villages with reliable, quality, high-speed broadband will enable better access to e-services offered by various Central and State Government agencies.  
    • Augmenting Applications: It will also enable online education, telemedicine, skill development, e-commerce and other applications of broadband. 
    • Increased Revenue: It is expected that revenue will be generated from different sources including the proliferation of broadband connections to individuals & institutions, sale of dark fibre, Fiberization of mobile towers, e-commerce etc.
    • Benefits for Rural Areas: The proliferation of broadband in rural areas will bridge the rural-urban divide of digital access, accelerate the achievement of Digital India, increase direct and indirect employment and income generation. 
    • Consumer-friendly advantages:
      • Use of innovative technology by the Private Sector Provider for the consumers;
      • High quality of service and Service Level to consumers;
      • Faster deployment of network and quick connectivity to consumers;
      • Competitive tariffs for services;
      • Variety of services on high-speed broadband  including Over-Top (OTT) services and multi-media services as part of packages offered to consumers
      • Access to all online services.
      • Better quality of service, 
      • Enhanced consumer experience and 
      • leverage private sector expertise, entrepreneurship and capacities for accelerating the achievement of digital India.  
      • Substantial savings of public money.

    More Information about Approval

    • The States covered under the Cabinet approval are:
      • Kerala, 
      • Karnataka, 
      • Rajasthan, 
      • Himachal Pradesh, 
      • Punjab, 
      • Haryana, 
      • Uttar Pradesh, 
      • Madhya Pradesh, 
      • West Bengal, 
      • Assam, 
      • Meghalaya, 
      • Manipur, 
      • Mizoram, 
      • Tripura, 
      • Nagaland and 
      • Arunachal Pradesh. 
    • An estimated 3.61 lakh villages including GPs will be covered. 
    • The Cabinet also accorded in-principle approval for extending BharatNet to cover all inhabited villages in the remaining States and UTs

     

    Conclusion

    • The PPP Model in this critical infrastructure of Telecom is a novel initiative.
    • The States where PPP Model is envisaged will facilitate the free Right of Way
    • The Private Sector Partner is also expected to bring an equity investment and raise resources towards capital expenditure and for operation and maintenance of the network.

    BharatNet 

    • BharatNet project originally aimed to provide broadband services at 100 Mbps to around 2.5 lakh gram panchayats of the country.
    • Aim: To provide on-demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households of India especially in rural areas.
    • Implementing Agency: The project is being implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
    • Funding: The entire project is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.
    • Importance
      • It is a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis.
      • It is the world’s largest rural connectivity scheme to be connected by the Optical Fibre network.
      • States are contributing free Rights of Way for establishing the Optical Fibre Network.
    • Support: Central Public Sector in Undertakings (CPSUs) BSNL, RailTel, and PGCIL are providing the optical fibre network for broadband connections for the BharatNet project.
    • Benefits:
    • The BharatNet project would reduce the cost of broadband services in India.
    • The project would have advantages like easy maintenance, faster implementation, and utilization of the present power line infrastructure.
    • It would provide internet connectivity to citizens especially in rural areas via Wi-Fi Hotspots.
    • It would provide a boost to the economy and would generate around 10 crore man-days of employment during the rollout of the project.
    • It will help in the expedition of government’s initiatives such as Make In India, Start-up India, Stand-up India etc,

    Source: PIB