Bharat Net To Reach 1,50,000 Panchayats By FY18 : Budget 2017

Accessing high speed internet will be a reality to majority of rural areas by the end of next fiscal as the government is set to provide broadband connectivity to 1,50,000 gram panchayats by the same period through Bharat Net.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said this today while presenting the union budget 2017. Later the same was tweeted by the communications minister Manoj Sinha.

“By the end of FY 2017-18 high speed broadband connectivity on optic fibres will be available in more than 1,50,000 gram panchayats,” he tweeted.

Providing high speed broadband to rural areas and to cover the entire nation is the mandate of Bharat Net, a special purpose vehicle formed under the ministry of telecom, specifically for this purpose.

“Allocation of Rs 10,000 crore for Bharat Net is a welcome step taken by Hon’ble FM. It will expedite the mission of a digitally connected Bharat. BSNL takes pride in being an execution partner for the project and will work cohesively towards its success,” said BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava.

And the same got a big boost today as the Union Budget 2017 has allocated additional Rs 10,000 crore in 2017-18 to augment the ambitious project.

For the financial year 2016-17 the budget allocation for Bharat Net was Rs 6000 crore and so far optical fibre coverage under Bharat Net has reached 75,700 gram panchayats.

“Union budget gives further boost to Digital India. An additional outlay of Rs10,000 crore for BharatNet which offers high-speed broadband to rural India, creation of DigiGaon for telemedicine and education, Aadhaar enabled payments, use of ICT in education sector, focus on cybersecurity are encouraging steps for the telecoms sector,” said Prashant Singhal, Global Telecom Leader, EY.

Bharat Net, a rechristened name from National Optic Fiber Network or NOFN, aims to provide high speed broadband to a total of 2,50,000 gram panchayats. The project was funded by Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) with the objective of providing data driven services to rural areas.

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