The new corporate office of Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) in East Kidwai Nagar, New Delhi was inaugurated by Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha. Addressing the members of the press and media immediately after the inauguration, the Minister said – “BBNL has played a key role in leading the successful implementation of the BharatNet project fordigitally connecting all 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country. The objective of this flagship project of our Government is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking and other services to citizens in every part of our country, on a non-discriminatory basis. We have completed approximately 50% of the project, and the remainder is targeted for completion by March 2019.”
The new BBNL corporate office has been taken on a 30-years lease from the Ministry of Urban Development, through NBCC (India) Limited. The total office space area is 36,597 sq. ft., with a designated area where students from academic institutions can get a glimpse of BharatNet. Smt. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary (Telecom), who was present on the occasion, added – “The consolidation of BBNL operations in this new office has come at the right time – when the focus of the organization is expanding from implementation, toalso cover critical areas such as utilization and maintenance of the BharatNet infrastructure.”
- PhaseI: The target of completing 1,00,000 GPs under phase-I of BharatNet was achieved in December 2017.
- Phase ll: BharatNet Phase-II is planned to connect the remaining 1,50,000 GPs,using an optimal mix of media, by 31 Mar, 2019. Phase II is being implemented through three models – state-led model, CPSU model, and private sector model.
- Further, provision has been made for Last Mile Connectivity in all 2,50,000 GPs through viability gap funding. Every GP shall have on an average five WiFi Access Points (APs), including 3 APs (on average) for public institutions such as educational centres, health centres, post offices, police stations, etc. A tender for provisioning of WiFi services has been floated by BBNL, after consultation with TSPs and ISPs, for wider participation.
- BharatNet is being utilized by BSNL, CSC SPV, TSPs and ISPs for delivery of services at Gram Panchayats. BSNL has provisioned WiFi hotspots at 1,742 GPs and FTTH connections at 13,513 GPs in various states. As part of project implementation, BBNL has provided for provisioning of an FTTH connection by BSNL at every GP of Phase I, for a period of one year, to provide an experience of broadband services to the people at the GP level. Such connections have already been provided to 70,238 GPs.