10 Feb 2014

Expansion of Telecom Services

The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project approved on 25.10.2011 is planned to connect all Gram Panchayats (approx. 2.5 Lakh) in the country through optical fibre utilizing existing fibers of Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) viz. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), RailTel and Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) and laying incremental fiber wherever necessary to bridge the connectivity gap between Gram Panchayats (GPs) and Blocks. 

Giving this information in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today, Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said that various applications for e-governance, e-education, e-health etc. will be provided. 

He said that a scheme to extend financial support from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) for provisioning of mobile communication services in remaining inhabited uncovered villages of the country is envisaged. 

Shri Sibal informed the House that the villages in North East Region will be covered in the first phase as part of a Comprehensive Telecom Plan for North-East. 

The Telecom Commission in its meeting held on 06.11.2013, has granted ‘in principle’ approval for implementation of the comprehensive telecom plan for North-East with a outlay of Rs. 2320.70 crore and has directed that a Detailed Project Report (DPR) be prepared for the same. 

The Government has also approved a proposal on 04.06.2013 to install mobile towers at 2199 locations in 9 States (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal), which are affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE).

 Work has been awarded to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). USOF would fund the Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and Operational Expenditure (OPEX) net of revenue for five years. Estimated project cost is Rs.3046.12 Crores. 

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