Create new company out of BSNL, says panel

“Carve out an infrastructure company from BSNL which can work with support of other PSUs like Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) and Raitel. The existing OFC (Optical Fibre Connectivity) network of BSNL could also be transferred to this company,” the committee said. The panel was set up by the Cabinet Secretariat to prepare a concept paper on “broadband for all-an integrated approach for rural areas.”

The USOF is created by the DoT to finance rural telecom network rollout of service providers. All telcos contribute 5 per cent of their annual revenues to the USOF, which is used to support communications services in areas considered commercially unviable.

Telecom Secretary P J Thomas recently held a meeting to discuss the recommendations of the panel which is aimed at helping government connect 2.5 lakh village panchayats with OFC with 2mbps connectivity. This would need laying down 5 lakh km of OFC at an estimated investment of Rs 18,000 crore.

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