Reliance Jio To Replicate Punjab Broadband Model To West Bengal

Reliance-Jio-Replicating-Punjab-Rural-Broadband-Model-To-West-BengalReliance Jio is replicating Punjab Rural Broadband Model to West Bengal whereby it will provide broadband connectivity to all 40,000 villages by end-2017.

Mukesh Ambani, CMD, Reliance Jio has already said that Punjab will be the first state in the country where Reliance Jio will provide broadband connectivity to cover 100 percent of the population (both rural and urban).

The company has already invested Rs 3,900 crores till date for providing broadband connectivity to Punjab and Jio is planning to commit additional resources, making Punjab the first state in India where all villages will have broadband mobile connectivity.

Reliance Jio has already invested over Rs 5,000 crore in West Bengal and is planning to invest additional amount to provide broadband connectivity to all rural villages in the state.

First, Reliance Jio fiber is already in large towns and cities, it makes good business proposition for the company to extend fiber to gram panchayats and finally villages. With this Jio is planning to get more subscribers under its fold who will utilize broadband services for voice, E-commerce, social media and other applications thereby increasing its revenue from villages which contribute 70 percent of India’s population.

Villages becoming broadband enabled opens up new opportunities. Small and medium industry can improve their productivity, farmers can learn about crop patterns and implement them for increasing crop productivity, traders can do e-commerce and youth can focus on startup businesses using digital infrastructure to create value for themselves.

Second, with Punjab coming under its fold, Reliance Jio is now focusing on West Bengal to provide broadband connectivity to all villages as Jio fiber has already reached majority of villages, small cities, towns in the state.

Reliance Jio has already connected 1,059 towns and 24,339 villages to its high speed 4G network, and the remaining 15,661 villages would be connected to Jio’s high speed internet network by end-2017.

In future, Reliance Jio will also have to face competition from Facebook (Solar Powered Plane Project and Satellite Project), Google (Project Loon) and Microsoft (White Space Project) as and when these projects become commercially available in India.

Based on the technology, the states will weigh on the least cost model for the project and opt for the one which requires minimum investment. In this case, states can also get funding from NOFN project and they also have to make additional investment from state corpus for broadbanding villages.

Third, with Reliance Jio jumping into village broadband it would be interesting to know what is the plan of Airtel, Idea Aircel and Vodafone with respect to providing broadband to villages and by when. Presently,  has no option but to tie up with few progressive states (A and B category circles) for providing village broadband connectivity. So, it would be interesting to see how operators, vendors, application providers and system integrators compete for BharatNet.

Once village broadband for Punjab and West Bengal gets successfully implemented there would be pressure on other state governments to implement village broadband connectivity under fast track mode.

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