Where will operators invest Rs 6,500 crores?

Telecom operators are planning to invest Rs 6,500 crores to make Punjab broadband ready. Bharti Airtel is planning an investment of Rs 4,000 crore in the next five years whereas Reliance Jio is planning an investment of Rs 2,500 crore in less than a year.

Bharti Airtel will take its high speed 4G LTE services to all towns and villages across Punjab and put the state on data superhighway. The company will lay an additional 10,000 km of optic fiber across Punjab and expand its 4G footprint to cover most of the state’s population over the next few years.

In addition, Airtel will also invest in its existing 2G mobile operations, wireline, DSL Broadband, DTH and M-Commerce services offering in the state and will also expand enterprise services offerings providing end-to-end technology solutions to corporates and SMEs.

All this will help in providing a major boost to growth of broadband services in rural areas and also help in enable delivery of e-governance, e-education, e-health services in Punjab.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and group CEO, Bharti Enterprises said, “Just like the mobile phone connected millions across Punjab, this high speed data connectivity initiative will further empower people with information and services available at the touch of a screen. I am confident that this initiative will make Punjab a model state for rest of the country.”

In Punjab, Reliance Jio is planning to invest Rs 2,500 crore in less than a year to connect 147 cities by fiber (both inter-city and intra-city). The company is planning to connect schools, colleges and hospitals in Punjab and initially schools, colleges and hospitals will be provided free broadband connectivity.

So, in toto both Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel collectively will lay around 16,250 Km of optical fiber cable as the thumb rule is per km cost of optical fiber cable all inclusive is Rs 40-50 Lakh per km. This includes intra-circle fiber, inter-circle fiber and FTTH deployment across Punjab circle.

“The increase in broadband penetration will definitely help in increasing state GDPS and also help in generating direct and indirect employment to several thousand people in Punjab,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries.

But the big question is when do we see education, health and governance services on broadband ready network of Punjab and when will government put these applications on high speed network to be utilized by citizens of Punjab.

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