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- The government had come out with a revised public-private partnership (PPP) model for BharatNet project.
- As a part of the revised plan, the government is likely to either provide a minimum revenue per month per state to the bidders who successfully complete their project or subsidise some of their operational expenditure.
- BharatNet is a flagship mission implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) wherein the Government of India through the Department of Telecom had created a strategic plan for providing broadband connectivity to 2,50,000 gram panchayats in India on optical fiber cable with a minimum of 100 Mbps speed.
- BharatNet is the world's largest rural broadband connectivity program, which is built under the Make in India initiative with no involvement of foreign companies.
Objectives of the Project:
- It was launched in 2011 to provide connectivity to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) through optical fibre.
- It is a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity for all households.
- It aims to realize the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.
- The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to the rural India.
- The entire project is funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF).
What is universal service obligation USOF?
Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) is the pool of funds generated by 5% Universal Service Levy that is charged upon all the telecom fund operators on their Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR). This fund is deposited in the Consolidated Fund of India and is dispatched on the approval of the Indian Parliament.
Benefits of Bharatnet PPP Model:
- Use of innovative technology by the Private Sector Provider for the consumers;
- High quality of service and Service Level to consumers;
- Faster deployment of network and quick connectivity to consumers;
- Competitive tariffs for services;
- Variety of services on high-speed broadband including Over the top (OTT) services and multi-media services as part of packages offered to consumers, and
- Access to all online services.
- It will also enable online education, telemedicine, skill development, e-commerce and other applications of broadband.