The Union Cabinet today accorded approval for revised implementation strategy for BharatNet through Public Private Partnership mode in 16 states of the country. BharatNet will now extend upto all inhabited villages beyond Gram Panchayat (GPs) in the said States. The revised strategy includes maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet by the concessionaire selected by a competitive international bidding process.
Finance Ministry on Monday had announced funding for the PPP model at Rs 19,041 crores. The total funding for BharatNet has been enhanced to Rs 61,109 crore with the latest round of funding for the PPP model.
Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, and Andhra Pradesh are among the states accorded approval by the Centre with approximately 3.61 lakh villages including Gram Panchayats set to be covered.
The Cabinet has also accorded principle approval for extending BharatNet to cover all inhabited villages in the remaining States and UTs. DoT will work out the modalities for the remaining States and Union Territories.
PPP Model will leverage Private Sector efficiency for operation, maintenance, utilization, and revenue generation with faster roll out of BharatNet. The select Private Sector Partner is to provide fast, reliable, high-speed broadband services as per pre-defined Services Level Agreement (SLA).
The extension of reach of BharatNet to inhabitated villages with reliable, high speed broadband will enable better access of e-services offered by various Central and State Government agencies. This will also enable online education, telemedicine, skill development, e-commerce, and other applications of broadband.
The Government expects revenue generation from different sources including proliferation of broadband connections to institutions and individuals, sale of dark fibre, fiberization of mobile towers, e-commerce etc.
The proliferation of broadband in rural areas will bridge the rural-urban divide of digital access and accerelate the achievement of Digital India.
“The penetration and proliferation of broadband is also expected to increase direct and indirect employment and income generation. The States where PPP Model is envisaged, will facilitate free Right of Way,” said the Cabinet in a media release.
BharatNet PPP Model Advantages
(a) Use of innovative technology by the Private Sector Provider for the consumers
b) High quality of service and Service Level to consumers
c) Faster deployment of network and quick connectivity to consumers
d) Competitive tariffs for services
e) Variety of services on high-speed broadband including Over the top (OTT) services and multi-media services as part of packages offered to consumers, and
f) Access to all online services.
“PPP Model in this critical infrastructure of Telecom is a novel initiative. The Private Sector Partner is also expected to bring an equity investment and raise resources towards capital expenditure and for operation and maintenance of the network. Hence, the PPP Model for BharatNet will enhance efficiency, quality of service, consumer experience and leverage private sector expertise, entrepreneurship and capacities for accelerating the achievement of digital India. This will be in addition to substantial savings of public money,” said the Cabinet.