Affordable Broadband and Mobile Service in India

The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) has undertaken a number of projects to enable the proliferation of affordable broadband and mobile services in rural and remote areas. In BharatNet projects, a total of 5,81,351 km of Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) has been laid to connect 2,64,549 Gram Panchayats (GPs) and at present 1,77,550 GPs are ready for service, of which 4,394 GPs connected by satellite. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands were connected to the mainland by an undersea cable. There is another submarine cable laying project to link Lakshadweep to the mainland. There are several other diets viz. provision of mobile services in areas affected by left-wing extremism (LWE), in villages in ambitious districts and in the North East region.

Five percent of annual collections under the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) will be allocated to promote research and development (R&D) and the commercialization of technologies and solutions.

Global tenders were launched on 20.07.2021 for implementation under BharatNet’s PPP model. However, no response was received from any of the potential bidders. A revised strategy for BharatNet is therefore being formulated.

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