Centre asks states to utilise broadband services

The telecom ministry has enabled optical-fibre based broadband connectivity in 1.2-lakh gram panchayats under the project BharatNet. Representative image.

The Centre on Tuesday asked the states to operationalise broadband connectivity in gram panchayats within the next two months.

Unless the gram panchayats utilise the services of broadband connectivity in two months, the Centre will have to transfer mega initiative to Common Service Centres (CSC) or private companies, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundarajan said in New Delhi while addressing a workshop on implementation of National Digital Communication Policy.

The telecom ministry has enabled optical-fibre based broadband connectivity in 1.2-lakh gram panchayats under the project BharatNet.

Even though Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of panchayats ready with broadband services, the state has utilised the network in only 151 panchayats out of the 27,919 ready ones.

In the list of Panchayat broadband-service-ready states, Uttar Pradesh is followed by Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka etc.

But according to official data, Maharashtra had utilised the network in only 338 out of 15,126 ready panchayats, Madhya Pradesh 899 out of 12,687, Rajasthan 835 out of 8,451, Punjab 33 out of 7,911 and Haryana 13 out of 6,110 panchayats.

BharatNet can't be successful without strong ownership from states,  Aruna said and added that whether it is safety of ONT (optical network terminator) or custody of ONT or provision of power, states have to take a proactive role.

The telecom ministry announced that it is coming with a scheme to incentivise states that show improvement and are ranked high in broadband network utilisation and facilitate smooth roll out of telecom networks in their region.

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Centre asks states to utilise broadband services

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