Saturday, 30 May 2015

Seven states propose own broadband network rollout

ravi shankar prasad  

Seven states have proposed to come up with their own model to roll out broadband network proposed under Rs 72,000-crore BharatNet prorgamme, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday. “Seven states have offered to come up with state or SPV (special purpose vehicle) run model. Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have already been talking about it,” said Prasad after a meeting with state IT ministers and principal secretaries. Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal have said they will develop their own model for broadband network rollout as some expressed displeasure over the work of central public sector companies involved in National Optical Fibre Network. Representatives from almost all states, except Delhi and some North Eastern states, were present in the meeting to discuss new model to roll out the broadband network.
Haryana said it is exploring possibility of state-led model for the project.
“Keep this fact in mind that you are creating an integrated BharatNet, so there has to be certain standard. I appeal to you, give your views soon. If a state government opts for a state-led model, the existing NOFN architecture will migrate to new model,” Prasad told the state representatives.
The Centre has given the option to roll out broadband network as per three models namely, the current model operated by Central PSUs, SPV or state run and private sector-led model.
At present, NOFN project, which aims to connect 2.5 lakh village panchayats by 2016, is being operated by SPV Bharat Broadband Network and project is being executed by CPSUs BSNL, RailTel and Powergrid.
Andhra Pradesh advisor for e-governance and IT J Satyanarayana said the state government expects to roll out broadband in 30 to 36 months and provide connection with download speed of 10 megabit per second for Rs 150 per month.
An eight member committee constituted to suggest measures for successful roll out of NoFN project has also suggested proposals has worked on design of BharatNet model in place of NoFN.
The redesigning and remodelling with additions, the Bharat Net project has gone up three fold to Rs 72,778 crore from about Rs 20,000 crore approved earlier. In a separate policy measure, the centre had earmarked Rs 498 crore as financial incentive to companies for setting up call centres under a new BPO scheme, which is expected to create around 1.5 lakh jobs directly.
The minister said the government will float expression of interest (EoI) under the BPO scheme after state governments submit their inputs. He said that while funding will be given by central government but state government will have to play an important role in providing assistance to these BPOs.