Telecom Minister Meets DoT Officials Over Expediting BharatNet Project
Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash and other senior officials of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to expedite the rural broadband project ‘BharatNet’.
The meeting comes days after the Rajya Sabha MP from Odisha took over as the Telecom Minister.
In a tweet, the ministry said: “Telecom Minister Shri @AshwiniVaishnaw took an introductory meeting today with Secretary (Telecom) and other senior officers of @DoT_India at Sanchar Bhawan New Delhi for expediting BharatNet project in rural parts of the country.”
The government has given a renewed push to the project with the public-private partnership (PPP) model. On June 30, the Union Cabinet approved the revised implementation strategy of BharatNet through PPP mode in 16 states.
The revised strategy also includes creation, upgradation, operation, maintenance and utilisation 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 crore.
The Cabinet also accorded in-principle approval for extending BharatNet to cover all inhabited villages in the remaining states and Union Territories.
The much ambitious project has been running behind schedule. According to the data on the site of Bharat Broadband Network Ltd, 1,73,079 ‘gram panchayats’ have been connected with optical fibre and 1,60,076 panchayats are service ready as of June 18, 2021.