Aimed at providing broadband connectivity to Panchayats, the government approved the scheme of creating a national optical fibre network, which will help in offering governance, banking and health services online.
“The objective of the scheme is to extend the existing optical fibre network which is available up to district/block headquarter level to the gram panchayat level initially by utilising the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF),” DoT Secretary, R Chandrasekhar told media.
The cost of this initial phase of the scheme is likely to be about Rs 20,000 crore and the target is to complete it in two years.
Initially, the broadband project will be executed by state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and other institutions like RailTel. Later on BSNL, Power Grid and Gas Authority of India would also be made partners. According to telecom regulator TRAI, the number of broadband subscribers at the end of August 2011 stood at 12.69 million.