The tender, which was in the offing for a long time now, will set in motion the process to vacate spectrum by defence.
Citing security reasons, the defence ministry have been reluctant to release the spectrum in their possession unless a dedicated optical fibre alternate network is laid.
The armed forces, which occupy a bulk of the 3G airwaves, will move their communication requirements to the new network, thus freeing up airwaves for commercial telephony.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) in May last year had signed an MoU with Defence Ministry to set up this dedicated network. Later, the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure also cleared this Rs 10,000-crore project.
The tender is for roll-out of OFC network, to be owned and operated by the Defence Services under the Project Implementation Core Group (PICG) of Ministry of Defence, said a BSNL official. The telecom major was made the coordinator for the entire project by the empowered Group of Ministers.
The tender is for procurement, supply, trenching, laying, installation, testing and maintenance of optical fiber cable and accessories for construction of exclusive optical NLD Backbone and Optical Access routes on Turnkey basis for defence network, said the official.
A highly resilient exclusive OFC based nationwide optical backbone for 414 Defence sites and optical gigabit access networks at 219 Army sites will be rolled as part of this project, official said.
The implementation of this project will be undertaken jointly by BSNL and PICG, whereby all essential project monitoring, installation, testing and acceptance tasks will be carried out by joint teams.
After successful implementation of this project, all the network assets created for this project will be handed over by BSNL to the PICG for subsequent operations and maintenance.
The Empowered GoM had made BSNL Chairman Kuldeep Goyal the chief of this project.