India will connect 5000 blocks in the country with wireless broadband, once the spectrum is allocated later this year, announced Department of Telecommunications (DOT) , Government of India. The project will be undertaken along with the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). The plan aims to provide connectivity to villages coming within a radius of 10 Kms of the Taluka/Block headquarters.
USOF is responsible for providing broadband connectivity in a phased manner in all the villages. These funds are also used for operation and maintenance of Village Public Telephones, provision of household telephones in rural and remote areas and creation of general telecom infrastructure as well as special infrastructure for mobile services in rural areas.
The wireless broadband given to each block will benefit about 40 institutional users. The benefits include – schools, public health centers, village Panchayats and the Community Service Centers (CSCs) which will give e-Governance and data services to the rural areas. The e-Auction for spectrum will be conducted later this year.
DOT has held discussions with technology providers, Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for formalising its modalities of tender procedures, specification/deliverable formulation and bench mark settings in order to provide wireless broadband.
The scheme envisages that the TSPs may utilise the existing passive and core infrastructure available with them. Consultants for the purpose have already been appointed. Requirements of the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and other user ministries such HRD, Health, Panchayati Raj, MHA are being firmed up so that block-wise villages can be prioritised and requisite infrastructure be kept ready.
Currently, the state owned Service Provider – Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) is providing broadband services to 1000 blocks out of 6000 blocks in the country. The company also provides broadband for 50000 Common Service Centres out of the 1 lakh CSCs across the country. DOT's new initiative will cover the remaining blocks and all the CSCs in India. The Department also plans to support Wireline Broadband by USOF wherever feasible.