The Union Cabinet has approved an outlay of Rs 1.39 lakh crore to provide broadband connectivity to 6.4 lakh villages under the BharatNet project. Sources gave this information.
He said that at present 1.94 lakh villages have been connected under the BharatNet project and there is a possibility of connecting the remaining villages in two and a half years.
“The cabinet in its meeting held on Friday evening has approved Rs 1,39,579 crore for providing optical fiber based connectivity to all villages in the country,” the source said.
Last mile connectivity will be provided by BSNL branch Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) in association with Village Level Enterprises (VLEs).
“The fiber to the home model has been finalized after the successful completion of a pilot project with the help of local entrepreneurs,” sources said.
The equipment and additional fiber required to connect homes under this project are provided by BBNL, and local entrepreneurs have been entrusted with the maintenance of the network.
The source said, “The pilot project, which was run for about 60,000 villages, involved about 3,800 entrepreneurs, providing 3.51 lakh broadband connections. The average data consumption per household has been recorded at 175 gigabytes per month”
The project is being launched on a 50 per cent revenue-sharing basis between BBNL and the VLE, and the monthly broadband plan starts at Rs 399.
According to sources, there are 37 lakh route kilometer (RKM) of Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) spread across the country, of which BBNL has laid 7.7 RKM.