Rural Wi-Fi: DoT may spare additional funds to set up more hotspots in gram panchayats
Other DoT targets include enabling 100 mbps broadband on demand to all key development institutions and deploying 5 million public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2020 and 10 million by 2022. These public Wi-Fi hotspots would ride on BharatNet, through which, the government plans to connect 250,000 gram panchayats with rural broadband.
In order to provide 1 gbps connectivity to all gram panchayats by 2020 and 10 gbps by 2022, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to issue a revised tender, inviting bidders to set up more public Wi-Fi hotspots in all gram panchayats than it had earlier envisaged, to ensure high-speed rural broadband across the 250,000 gram panchayats, said a LiveMint report.
“The earlier tender was for Rs 4,000 crore and at that time it was decided to set up two Wi-Fi hotspots per gram panchayat. Now we want to set up five hotspots per gram panchayat. The new tender will now be for Rs 10,000 crore... This should happen in a week,” one person aware of the matter told LiveMint, on the condition of anonymity.
According to the reort, almost Rs 3,600 crore of this whole amount is expected to come from the government as viability gap funding. “The revised budget has to be approved by the Telecom Commission at its next meeting,” the person quoted reportedly said.
The telecom commission, the highest decision-making authority at DoT, will reportedly meet on 29 June, and is likley to discuss the telecom regulator’s recommendations on net neutrality. The panel may approve the draft of the national digital communications policy.
The Wi-Fi hotspots in rural areas will connect institutions like police stations, primary health centres, schools and post offices.
Earlier on 1 May, DoT had floated the draft policy for public consultation, with a target of attracting investments of $100 billion in digital communications by 2022 apart from offering universal broadband at 50 mbps, said the report.
The other DoT targets reportedly include enabling 100 mbps broadband on demand to all key development institutions and deploying 5 million public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2020 and 10 million by 2022.
These public Wi-Fi hotspots would ride on BharatNet, through which, the government plans to connect 250,000 gram panchayats with rural broadband.
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In the first phase, the government has already completed optical fibre across 100,000 gram panchayats, and aims to complete the second phase by March 2019, when it will connect an additional 150,000 gram panchayats with the help of private sector participation, the report added.
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