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BharatNet Project

Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved Rs 1.39 lakh crore for the Modernization of the BharatNet project. BharatNet project..

Why in News?

Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved Rs 1.39 lakh crore for the Modernization of the BharatNet project.

About BharatNet Project:

  • The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), launched in October 2011, was renamed the Bharat Net Project in 2015.
  • It is an ambitious project of the Government of India to provide broadband connectivity to all village panchayats in the country.
  • It aims to provide affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on-demand capacity to all institutions to realize the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.
  • The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to rural India.
  • To achieve this, the existing fibres of PSUs (BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid) were utilised and incremental fibre was laid to connect to Gram Panchayats wherever necessary. 
  • The entire project is being funded by the Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up to improve telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.
  • The project is being executed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), namely Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), which was incorporated on 25.02.2012 under Indian Companies Act 1956.

Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF):

The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) was established with the primary objective of providing access to ‘Basic’ telecom services to people in the remote and rural areas at reasonable and affordable prices. Subsequently, the scope was widened to provide subsidy support for enabling access to all types of telegraph services including mobile services, broadband connectivity, and creation of infrastructure like Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) in rural and remote areas.

Implementation Status of BharatNet

The implementation of the BharatNet Project is done in two Phases:

  • Phase-I
    • Phase- I to connect 1 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) is completed.
    • Implementation through CPSUs: BSNL, RailTel, PGCIL
    • Existing fibre of BSNL (between Block to GPs) used to lay and connect new OFC under the project.
    • At present work is under progress in balance GPs.
  • Phase-II (around 1.42 Lakh GPs excluding BHQs & including GPs over Satellite media)
    • New OFC from Block to GPs – Life time maintenance of network by dedicated Fibres providers for GPs.

FAQs about BharatNet project

Q1: What is the BharatNet Project, and why is it in the news recently?

A1: The BharatNet Project is a government initiative aimed at providing broadband connectivity to all village panchayats in India. It’s in the news because the Union Cabinet has approved Rs 1.39 lakh crore for the project’s modernization.

Q2: When was the BharatNet Project launched, and what was its original name?

A2: The project was initially known as the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) and was launched in October 2011. It was later renamed the BharatNet Project in 2015.

Q3: What is the objective of the BharatNet Project?

A3: The primary objective of the BharatNet Project is to provide affordable broadband connectivity, ranging from 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps, to all households and institutions in rural India, thus facilitating the delivery of various e-governance, e-health, e-education, and Internet-based services.

Q4: How is the BharatNet Project funded?

A4: The entire project is funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was established to improve telecom services in remote and rural areas of the country.

Q5: Who is responsible for the execution of the BharatNet Project?

A5: The project is being executed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), incorporated under the Indian Companies Act 1956.

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