All panchayats will be provided high speed broadband connections under BharatNet project by March 2020, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed Parliament Thursday.
“The Phase II of the project is under implementation, and a total of 2 lakh GPs (gram panchayats) are targeted to be completed by March 2020,” Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
The government connected 1 lakh gram panchayats under phase 1 of BharatNet project.
“The Union Cabinet on July 19, 2017 approved a modified strategy for implementing BharatNet under which, the remaining 1,50,000 (approximately) GPs in the country are to be provided broadband connectivity in Phase-II of the project,” Prasad said.
The government has earlier set March 2019 as target date to complete roll out of optical based high speed broadband network across all panchayats.
“The delay in the initial implementation of the project was on account of...delay in the initial commencement of project as the work on the project began in the second half of 2014 due to field survey of GPs and pilot testing of the technology model,” Prasad said.
He said that only underground optical fibre cable have been used to cover GPs.
“In NER (north east region), the GPs are located in widely expansive hilly and remote areas. Further, the monsoon season is also very long,” Prasad said.
The minister also said that the issue of delay has been resolved since May 2016, with the constitution of empowered committee under telecom secretary, steering committee under USOF administrator and state committee under Chief General Manager (CGM), BSNL.