Delhi, 9th August 2023: DIPA welcomes the approval of the BharatNet project by the Union Cabinet, The Cabinet’s endorsement of the BharatNet project, connecting all 6.4 lakh villages. This landmark approval by the Union Cabinet, with a budget of Rs 1.39 lakh crore, is hailed as a significant stride towards realizing the objectives of Digital India and promoting inclusiveness. The project is poised to accelerate social and economic advancement for the nation, as it commits to supplying broadband connectivity to all 6.4 lakh villages by 2025.
The Indian Telecom Sector currently hosts 1.17 billion mobile users, achieving a teledensity of 84.51%. This is supported by 7.60 lakh mobile towers and approximately 26.40 lakh BTS installations. As of March 2023, over 37 lakh kilometers of Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) have been deployed, facilitating connectivity for 832.2 million broadband users in addition to mobile subscribers.
Beneath the umbrella of the BharatNet initiative, a total of 1,77,550 Gram Panchayats (GPs) have been prepared to deliver services by June 2022. This project’s scope has been extended to encompass all inhabited villages beyond GPs across the country. The vision is to achieve broadband speeds of up to 50 Mbps by 2024-25, while also achieving fiberization in up to 70% of Telecom Towers/BTSs by the same timeline. Additionally, there are plans to map 10 lakh Route KMs of Optical Fiber Cable laid by the Public Sector Units (PSUs) on the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan (PMGS-NMP) Portal.
During the span of 2021-22, a total of 19,663 Gram Panchayats (GPs) have been equipped to offer services under the BharatNet Project. According to TRAI Performance Indicator reports from 2020 and 2021, a remarkable 2.49 crore internet connections were extended by Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in rural areas in the year 2021
Speaking in praise of the Government’s efforts, Mr. TR Dua, the Director General of DIPA, remarked, “This historic decision by the Union Cabinet is poised to elevate the nation’s digital connectivity quotient efficiently and expeditiously providing high-speed broadband to every Indian including Rural, thereby contributing to the realization of the ‘Antyodyay’ goal.” DIPA commends the diverse initiatives taken by the Government of India, guided by the vision of Hon’ble PMO, Mr. Narendra Modi. The PM GatiShakti National Master Plan (PMGS-NMP), launched on October 13th, 2021, aimed at establishing multimodal connectivity infrastructure for economic zones. Its implementation was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on October 21st, 2021.
The PM GatiShakti National Master Plan encompasses the mapping of 12 lakh route kilometers of Optical Fiber Cables from entities like BSNL, MTNL, Railtel, and 21,000 OFC from state and private providers. The discussion also covers the mapping of 7.5 lakh towers, 25 lahks Base Transceiver Stations, 1.45 lakh PM WANI Wi-Fi hotspots, and the utilization of Underground OFC for telecom tower fiberization. This mapping of underground fibers has streamlined the formulation of Detailed Project Reports for connectivity across various sectors. The program has not only streamlined critical infrastructure projects but also lowered logistics costs, earning it the Excellence in Public Administration-2022 award in the ‘Innovation (Central)’ category.