A Billion Users But India Still Has 43000 Villages Without Mobile Connectivity

Out of total 5,97,618 villages, the number of villages without mobile connectivity in India is 43,088

India is world’s fastest growing smartphone market and the second largest after China. The country is also boasting of having close to 1200 million telephone subscribers with mobile subscribers accounting to almost 1170 million. The country’s tele density has crossed 90%, however, there is an irony – more than 40,000 villages still do not have access to mobile services.

A recent government data revealed that out of total 5,97,618 inhabited villages in the country as per Census 2011, a total of 43,088 villages do not have mobile services.

Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha has shared this data in a written reply to Lok Sabha during the ongoing winter session.

As per the data, two big states – Madhya Pradesh and Odisha – have the maximum number villages that are yet to be provided with mobile services. Madhya Pradesh has total of 51,929 inhabited villages of which 5558 villages do not have mobile connectivity. Odisha has 47,677 inhabited villages of which 9940 villages do not have access to mobile services.

Uttar Pradesh that has the maximum number of inhabited villages in the country, in the contrary, has comparatively very less number of unconnected villages. Out of total 97,813 inhabited villages only 298 villages are out of mobile coverage.

All the UTs (union territories) have 100% coverage means all the villages fall under these areas have access to mobile connectivity. Puducherry though just has one village that has no mobile services.

As per a report based on surveys of households and individuals conducted by LIRNEASIA and RESEARCH ICT AFRICA, the urban-rural gap in mobile phone ownership (as % of population aged 15-65 years) in India is 22% as compared to 7% in Bangladesh and 5% in Pakistan.

Most of the unconnected villages in the country are in difficult and hilly terrains. The Government of India, however, is leaving no stone unturned to reach out to these villages.

The Department of Telecom executed a project for providing Mobile Services in 2,335 locations in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, which are affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE). As part of LWE Phase-2, Government has decided to install additional 4,072 mobile towers.

The Government has created a comprehensive telecommunication development plan for the entire North East Region for providing mobile connectivity in 8,621 villages. The Government is also strengthening significantly the connectivity with Andaman and Nicobar Islands by laying 2164.23 km of Submarine Optical Fibre Cable between Mainland (Chennai) and Port Blair and five other islands namely Car Nicobar, Little Andaman, Havelock, Kamorta and Great Nicobar Islands of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The Department is also implementing the flagship BharatNet project in a phased manner for providing connectivity to all the 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country through optimal mix of media like optical fibre cable (OFC), satellite and radio. Phase I of BharatNet for connecting 1 lakh GPs has been completed in December 2017. Phase II of the project is under implementation.

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