BharatNet, the ambitious rural digital connectivity programme from the Centre has now completed the test-lit process for 26,548 gram panchayats.
The project which is under implementation since 2012 has seen several deadline misses due to equipment and execution issues for phase I in which BSNL, Railtel and PGCIL are the implementing agencies with the BSNL having the mandate to connect 70 per cent of target GPs.
Now the deadline for the project has been pushed to March 2019 from the earlier timeline of December 2018. Before that the deadline was March 2017 for Phase I. It had been able to lay optical fibre in nearly one-lakh GPs, However, only about 22,000 GPs have been provided Internet connectivity due to equipment procurement issues.
Now the GPON integrated & Tested (Lit) in 26,548 GPs, as per the latest data of BharatNet as on July 31, 2017 where OFC Pipe has been laid up to 2.40 lakh Kms that includes 1.07 GPs.
One way of providing fiber to the home (Gram panchayats in case of BharateNet) is through a Gigabit Passive Optical Network, or GPON. GPON is a point-to-multipoint access network. Its main characteristic is the use of passive splitters in the fiber distribution network, enabling one single feeding fiber from the provider to serve multiple homes and small businesses.
As per the latest update, Optical fibre has been laid up to 2.22 lakh km and this can cover a little over one lakh GPs.
But the important development is tenders have been finalised for 3326 blocks having 1.24 lakh GPs. Except Andhra Pradesh, Work has already started in all these blocks that will cover 1.2 lakh GPs. Currently 295 km of optical fibre and 486 kms Optical fibre cable pipe is being laid a week and till July 30th 2.6 lakh km OFC has been delivered on site.