The Government of India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) is looking to invite tenders for setting up WiFi hubs in village panchayats to bolster Internet connectivity across the country. As per reports, the $568.8 Mn project is slated for completion by 2019.
As part of the initiative, the Indian government is preparing to launch broadband services with high speed of around 1000 megabit per second (1 Gbps) in nearly 100K gram panchayats by the end of 2017.
Commenting on the development, a DoT official requesting anonymity stated, “The tender details will be finalised this week. It will be issued immediately. The plan is to roll out WiFi service in 100K gram panchayats (GPs) in a year and in the rest by 2019.”
The new development is part of the government’s ambitious BharatNet project, which aims to bring Internet connectivity to all of the country’s 250K gram panchayats by March 2019. This comes just three months after the government gave its nod for the second phase of BharatNet.
The first phase of the programme, involving the rollout of broadband services in 100K gram panchayats, was completed in July this year. The Cabinet had originally sanctioned a total budget of $6.4 Bn (INR 42,068 Cr) for the programme. Of this, $2.8 Bn (INR 18,792 Cr) was allocated for the second phase.
According to sources, these initiatives are in line with the government’s new telecom policy that plans to increase Internet access to 700 Mn people, from the current 300 Mn, by 2022.