BharatNet Crosses Halfway Mark

The BharatNet initiative that aims to connect 250,000 gram panchayats, or village blocks, through optical fibre has crossed the halfway mark, while broadband services are ready in over 1.16 lakh village panchayats out of the 1.21 lakh connected with optical fibre network, the government has said.

The BharatNet initiative to connect 250,000 village blocks or more than 600,000 villages, is 100% funded by the Centre and has a completion deadline of March 31, 2019.

Sinha said every gram panchayat is being provided with five wi-fi access points on an average, which include two at public places and three for government institutions such as school, hospital, post offices and police station.

Separately, Department of Telecommunications additional secretary Anshu Prakash said the BharatNet project had crossed the halfway mark, adding telecom infrastructure will be available to service providers on a non-discriminatory basis.

The ambitious project, which was originally conceived by the UPA-II government in 2011 as the National Optical Fibre Network and renamed as Bharat-Net, is being monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office but has missed several deadlines since its launch.

Prakash’s comments come soon after the DoT warned senior officials of public-owned Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. of stern action for failing to operationalise the BharatNet network.

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