Bharat Broadband plans to hook up all 2.5 lakh panchayats by Dec-end

Rahul Wadke
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India’s plans to connect all the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats over broadband network is gaining momentum, with Bharat Broadband Network Ltd readying for rollout by end of the year.

Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL), the company which has the mandate to rollout broadband network, intends to connect 10,000 gram panchayats (GPs) by December 31 and about one lakh GPs by 2014-end.

Route maps on web site

The route maps of the network would be soon displayed on the company’s Web site for public review, a senior company official told Business Line.

BBNL is the special purpose vehicle of BSNL, Rail Tel Corporation of India Ltd (RTCIL) and Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) – for providing pan-India connectivity under the national optical fibre network project.

The project aims to connect all the gram panchayats with 100 MBPS broadband lines.

The official said that a survey – to chart an optimum route - for all 2.5 lakh GPs in the country is underway. The National Information Centre has been roped in to create a digital map, with routes and nodes, using Geographic Information Systems technology.

It would be hosted on BBNL Web site for the citizens to review it and provide feedback.

The optical cables are being laid in such a manner that it has enough back-up capacity to handle network blackouts. However, an advance ‘ring architecture’ is also being considered, which will create multiple back-ups connections for handling blackouts.

“If a cable connecting to a village gets disconnected, other cables in the vicinity will help the village office remain online,” the official said.

An internal note of Department of Telecommunications, seen by Business Line, said that survey work for all the gram panchayats would be carried out by BSNL, RTCIL and PGCIL.

BSNL being a large telecom provider will survey 1.80 lakh gram panchayats in 421 districts, PGCIL 35,000 gram panchayats across 89 districts and RTCIL 35,000 GPs in 120 districts.

Rs 229 cr spent so far

The note pointed that till June 30, Rs 229 crore have been spent on the project from the Universal Service Obligation Fund of Rs 27,949 crore.

Tenders for laying the network had been floated and financial bids were opened on June 7, however unsuccessful bidders have approached court and their bids were opened on June 21. Due to this delay, the tender would be finalised by July 31.

(This article was published on July 17, 2013)
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