BBNL issues global tender to develop BharatNet on 30-year concession

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 20, 2021

Government will provide a maximum grant of ₹19,041 crore as Viability Gap Funding

Bharat Broadband Network (BBNL), on behalf of Department of Telecommunication, on Tuesday came out with a global tender for the development of BharatNet through public private partnership in nine separate packages across 16 States.

The global tender is for the creation, upgradation, operation and maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet.

Under this project, the government will provide a maximum grant of ₹ 19,041 crore as Viability Gap Funding, the Ministry of Communications said in a statement. The Cabinet had approved the PPP model on June 30.

The project with a 30-year concession period will cover an estimated 3.61 lakh villages (including Gram Panchayats) across Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

‘Connecting all villages’

The scope of work under BharatNet PPP project includes connecting the remaining unconnected gram panchayats under BharatNet project (Phase 1 and Phase 2) and all the inhabited villages beyond the GPs; upgradation of the existing BharatNet Network from Linear to Ring topology; and operation and maintenance (O&M) and utilisation of the existing as well as the newly deployed network.

The existing BharatNet network across these 16 States will become part of this Project. Last Date of submission of Tender bid is August 24, the statement said.

The existing BharatNet was connecting all the GPs by laying OFC (primarily) between Block and GPs. The scope of BharatNet has now been enhanced to connect all the inhabited villages.

The project will be executed through a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) concession on PPP framework.

BBNL is carrying out an open, competitive bidding process with single stage, two-part bidding (‘Qualification bid’ and ‘Financial Bid’) for awarding the project. The bids for each of the package need to be submitted separately.

Once awarded, the selected bidder will create a special purpose vehicle (SPV), sign the agreement, achieve financial closure and undertake creation, upgradation, operation and maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet across the concession period.

“The idea is to harness private sector’s capability, capacity, and efficiency for O&M, utilisation and revenue generation to make BharatNet more effective and accessible. This would also serve the objective of BharatNet to have social inclusion, through effective delivery of government schemes and citizen centric services using broadband, and also to strengthen e-governance, e-education, telemedicine and e-banking,” the Communications Ministry said.

Published on July 20, 2021

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