The Government is set to speed up the National Optical Fibre Network distribution to provide broadband connectivity to two and a half lakh gram panchayats. A coordination committee headed by the Telecom Secretary has been set up by The Prime Minister’s Office for the purpose.
It is believed that the initiative will benefit nearly 25 crore people. The programme will cost Rs 20,000 crore. Bharat Broadband Network Ltd, a company set up for the purpose on February 25 this year will implement the project.
The coordination committee has been tasked with assessing the requirements of various central ministries or departments to set up a pan–India network that will offer Government-to-citizen services up to panchayat level.
At the same time, it will also assess the requirements of State Governments for a pan-State network. A similar exercise is planned for public sector undertakings of both the central and state Governments to offer services up to panchayat level.
The aim is to roll out e-services and e-applications nationally. The committee will evolve a framework to facilitate the design of pan-India and pan-State networks through the company. This will enable central ministries, departments, State Governments and various public sector undertakings to offer their services on the national optic fibre backbone.
Bharat Broadband will lay take the cable from its existing point, usually at the block level, to the gram panchayat level. This will involve laying about 5 lakh kilometres of optic fibre. Such an infrastructure will enable the service providers to expand services into rural areas.
It is expected that by the time the optical fibre network is rolled out, ministries will be ready with applications to be rolled out on the network.
The committee will comprise Secretaries from key Government departments, and the chiefs of Bharat Broadband and BSNL as members. The administrator of the USO Fund – which will provide the money —will be the convenor.