“By October 2018, the plan is to finish coverage of all gram panchayats with Wi-Fi as the last mile solution,” said Telecom Secretary JS Deepak in Delhi at a round table conference on the topic Data connectivity for the next billion.
The conference was organized on the occasion of the annual general meeting of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
The Bharat Net initiative is committed to take the optical fiber to each and every gram panchayat in next three years, Deepak said.
Under the program, Wi-Fi will be delivered, with a viability finding kind of approach, to each and every citizen at the price of about Rs 100 per month, he said.
In the first phase of the program, by March 2017, India will have 100,000 gram panchayats with 80-100 mbps connectivity with a last mile Wi-Fi, hotspot kind of end-user possibility to make data available to those who do not have access to it.
In the next phase of the plan (Bharat Net), with underground fiber, overhead fiber, radio satellite and the use of state government agency, especially the power distribution companies, the plan is to finish coverage of all gram panchayats.
According to COAI’s 2015-16 annual report, about 800 million Indians will be covered by wireless broadband services by 2020 from the current 250 million.