Telecom Lead India: The India government has offered
broadband connectivity in 60 percent (147,463) village panchayats in March
The government is planning to cover 247,864 village
panchayats by December 2012 under Bharat Nirman, according to Milind Deora, the
Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology.
The government has launched a rural wire-line broadband
scheme under universal service obligation fund (USOF) to increase broadband
penetration in rural and remote areas.
Under this scheme, BSNL will provide 8,88,832 wire-line
broadband connections to individual users and government institutions over a
period of 5-years. As on March 2012, a total of 358,978 broadband connections
have been provided.
In states such as MP, Chattisgarh and NE-II (as communicated by BSNL) the
achievement of coverage of village panchayats under Bharat Nirman II is less
than 25 percent. This is due to inaccessible & difficult terrain and law
& order problems in some part of these states.
TRAI, in its recommendations on National Broadband Plan (NBP), proposed that a
100 percent central government-owned, holding company National Optical
Fibre Agency ( NOFA) be formed.
In October 2011, the Government approved the scheme for
creation of National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), for providing broadband
connectivity to 2.5 lakh village panchayats. The objective of this scheme is to
extend the existing optical fiber network to panchayats by utilizing the USOF.
The project is proposed to be completed in 2 years.
NOFN project will be executed by Bharat Broadband Network (BBNL), owned by
Central Government, with equity participation from Government, BSNL, Railtel
and Power Grid. The company has been incorporated on 25.2.2012 for this
purpose. BBNL is currently working out modalities for implementation of this
project, according to Milind Deora.