The government will start its second and final phase of BharatNet project with an outlay of around Rs.34,000 crore — to provide high-speed broadband in all panchayats by March 2019.
Under the project, the government aims to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats through 10 lakh kilometres of additional optical fibre and give bandwidth to telecom players at nearly 75 per cent cheaper price for broadband and wifi services in rural areas.
Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, Law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar will launch the project on Monday.
The telecom ministry will sign agreements with seven states — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand — which will roll out the project on their own with partial funding from the central government.
Around Rs.4.5 lakh crore value can be added to the national gross domestic product on completion of BharatNet phase 2 as a study has suggested that every 10 per cent usage of Internet in India drives up GDP by 3.3 per cent.
BSNL will roll out optical fibre in eight states — Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim that were not covered under the first phase of BharatNet. Power Grid Corporation of India has been awarded contract for three states — Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Odisha.