New Delhi, June 30, 2021.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, today accorded approval for revised implementation strategy of BharatNet through Public Private Partnership mode in 16 States of the country. BharatNet will now extend upto all inhabited villages beyond Gram Panchayats (GPs), in the said States. The revised strategy also includes creation, upgradation, operation, maintenance and utilization of BharatNet by the concessionaire who will be selected by a competitive international bidding process. The estimated maximum viability gap funding approved for the above PPP model is Rs. 19,041 crores.
The States covered under the Cabinet approval today are Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. An estimated 3.61 lakh villages including GPs will be covered.
The Cabinet also accorded in principle approval for extending BharatNet to cover all inhabited villages in the remaining States and UTs. Department of Telecommunication will separately workout the modalities for these (remaining) States/UTs.
The PPP Model will leverage Private Sector efficiency for operation, maintenance, utilization and revenue generation and is expected to result in faster roll out of BharatNet. The selected concessionaire (Private Sector Partner) is expected to provide reliable, high speed broadband services as per pre-defined Services Level Agreement (SLA). Extension of reach of BharatNet to all inhabited villages with reliable, quality, high speed broadband will enable better access of e-services offered by various Central and State Government agencies. It will also enable online education, telemedicine, skill development, e-commerce and other applications of broadband. It is expected that revenue will be generated from different sources including proliferation of broadband connections to individuals & institutions, sale of dark fibre, Fiberization of mobile towers, e-commerce etc.
Proliferation of broadband in rural areas will bridge the rural-urban divide of digital access and accelerate 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.