Department of Telecom has sent a proposal of Rs 42, 608 crore to the Cabinet for approval for rural digital campaign -- BharatNet out of which Rs 11, 148 is for the ongoing phase I and Rs 18792 crore is for phase II.
According to DoT figures, the cost of reaching radio satellite till gram panchayat is Rs 18,792 crore and the Rs 4,000 crore will be for last mile connectivity for both phase I and phase II. The project will have an operation maintenance of Rs 6,046 crore and Rs 2,016 crore is provisioned for lossy fibre.
Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha today said the proposal has been sent to the cabinet for approval.
BharatNet is the Government digital programme to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats by 2018-end with telecom services, broadband and internet.
Recently Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundarajan had told Bureaucracy Today that the digital connectivity programme -- BharatNet has achieved the target of laying optic fibre in one lakh Gram Panchayats and very soon connectivity will be established in all the villages.
“BharatNet has picked up tremendously. Now the optic fibre has reached one lakh GPs which was the target that had been set. The equipments have reached about 70,000 GPs. So we expect that the lighting will happen now fast”, she had said.
The first phase of the project to connect 1 lakh GPs is still going on in terms of last mile connectivity and but has missed the deadlines several times.
The original target set by the government for laying down OFC in 1 lakh gram panchayats was March 2015, but was later advanced to March 2017. The March 2017 deadline of giving connectivity could not be met as equipment were not in place. The delays have led to cost overruns also by near 90%.
Now the government is is stepping up efforts to speed up to meet the deadline of December 2018 to connect all 250,000 gram panchayats with high-speed internet.