Cabinet approves BharatNet implementation through PPP mode in 16 States
New Delhi, July 1, 2021
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the revised implementation strategy of BharatNet through Public-Private Partnership mode in 16 States of the country.
BharatNet will now extend to all inhabited villages beyond Gram Panchayats (GPs), in these States, an official press release said.
The revised strategy also includes creation, upgradation, operation, maintenance and utilization 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 crores, the release said.
The States covered are Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. An estimated 3.61 lakh villages including Gram Panchayats (GPs) will be covered.
The Cabinet on Wednesday also accorded in-principle approval for extending BharatNet to cover all inhabited villages in the remaining States and Union Territories (UTs). The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) will separately work out the modalities in this regard.
The PPP Model will leverage private sector efficiency for operation, maintenance, utilization and revenue generation and is expected to result in a faster rollout of BharatNet. The selected concessionaire (Private Sector Partner) is expected to provide reliable, high-speed broadband services as per the pre-defined Services Level Agreement (SLA).
"Extension of reach of BharatNet to all inhabited villages with reliable, quality, high-speed broadband will enable better access to e-services offered by various Central and State Government agencies. It will also enable online education, telemedicine, skill development, e-commerce and other applications of broadband. It is expected that revenue will be generated from different sources including the proliferation of broadband connections to individuals & institutions, sale of dark fibre, Fiberization of mobile towers, e-commerce etc.," the release said.
"The proliferation of broadband in rural areas will bridge the rural-urban divide of digital access and accelerate the achievement of Digital India. The penetration and proliferation of broadband are also expected to increase direct and indirect employment and income generation. The States where PPP Model is envisaged will facilitate the free Right of Way.
"BharatNet PPP Model will bring several consumer-friendly advantages to the consumer including the use of innovative technology, high quality of service, faster network and quick connectivity and competitive tariffs.
"It will offer a variety of services on high-speed broadband including Over the top (OTT) services and multi-media services as part of the packages offered to consumers and access to all online services.
"The private sector partner is also expected to bring an equity investment and raise resources towards capital expenditure and for operation and maintenance of the network," the release added.