Millennium Post

Seven states have mooted their own broadband network model: Prasad

Seven states have proposed to come up with their own model to roll out broadband network proposed under Rs 72,000 crore BharatNet <g data-gr-id="37">prorgamme</g>, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday. "Seven states have offered to come up with state or SPV (special purpose vehicle) run <g data-gr-id="46">model</g>. Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have already been talking about it," Prasad said after meeting with state IT ministers and principal secretaries. 

Representatives from almost all states, except Delhi and some North Eastern states, were present in the meeting to discuss new model to roll out the broadband network. Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal said that they will develop their own model for broadband network rollout as some expressed displeasure over the work of central public sector companies involved in National Optical Fibre Network. 

"Keep this fact in mind that you are creating an integrated BharatNet so that there has to be certain standard. I will appeal you give your views soon on this," Prasad said in the meeting. Haryana said that it is exploring <g data-gr-id="43">possibility</g> of <g data-gr-id="44">state-led</g> model for the project. <g data-gr-id="39">Government</g> has given <g data-gr-id="41">option</g> to roll out <g data-gr-id="40">broadband</g> network as per three models -- current model operated by CPSUs, SPV or <g data-gr-id="38">state run</g> and private sector led model -- to speed up broadband network reach in the country. At present National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) project, which aims to connect 2.5 lakh village panchayats by 2016, is being operated by SPV Bharat Broadband Network Limited and project is being executed by CPSUs BSNL, RailTel and Powergrid. 

"If state government opts for <g data-gr-id="25">state-led</g> model, the existing NOFN architecture will migrate to <g data-gr-id="26">new</g> model," Prasad said. 

Andhra Pradesh Advisor for e-governance and IT J Satyanarayana said the state government expects to roll out broadband in 30 to 36 month period and provide connection with download speed of 10 <g data-gr-id="33">megabit</g> per second for Rs 150 per month. <g data-gr-id="30">Committee</g> that has worked on <g data-gr-id="31">design</g> of BharatNet model in place of NOFN has estimated over <g data-gr-id="34">three fold</g> increase in project cost to Rs 72,778 crore from about Rs 20,000 crore approved earlier. 

"Under BharatNet, broadband availability will be 99.9 per cent compared to about 96 per provisioned under NOFN. This means broadband service can be down only for 9 hours in a year compared to 350 hours under NOFN," the Department of Telecom Joint Secretary V Umashankar said. The BharatNet project proposes broadband connectivity to households under village panchayats and even to government institutions at <g data-gr-id="28">district</g> level. "If we are able to create 100 users at each panchayat level, then it will enhance GDP by about Rs 66,500 crore," Umashankar said. 

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