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Telecom Secretary Asks to Use Bharat Net Infrastructure for Rural Connectivity

The Bharat Net project aims for a better connectivity, e-governance and other services across the remote areas of India

Aruna Sundararajan, Department of Telecom Secretary has asked the states across India to use Bharat Net broadband infrastructure that is meant especially for connecting the rural areas. She said that the department had put out the Bharat Net project in one lakh gram panchayats, but the states were yet to utilise it.

The secretary laid emphasis on the need for telecom infrastructure for a stronger connectivity in the rural areas for proper implementation of all the ongoing health, education and other programmes.

Digital access challenging in remote areas

While addressing the Rural Telecom Summit, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Sundararajan said that setting up connection in the rural areas was a challenge and the respective state governments should adopt measures to ensure the remote areas were also covered and deploy network services. She added that the industry and the government must jointly work on the Bharat Net project to boost the communications infrastructure in India for a better rural connectivity.

Bharat Net an opportunity

The telecom department has introduced the Bharat Net project for the industry stakeholders who can benefit from the different aspects such as the wi-fi hotspots. The project aims to have around 12 lakh hotspots rolled out over the next 1-2 years, thereby opening a huge opportunity for the overall industry.

Bharat Net seeks to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through high-speed broadband by March 2019. It will facilitate e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking and other services to citizens across the country.

The telecom department, reportedly, pulled up state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) over underutilisation of BharatNet infrastructure as well as deficiencies in the maintenance of the project.