Viability Gap Funding for BharatNet Project
Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Internet connectivity; Infrastructure
- Recently, the Union Cabinet approved a Viability Gap Funding support of up to Rs. 19,041 crore for the implementation of the BharatNet project through Public-Private Partnership model.
- The project will be extended to all inhabited villages beyond the gram panchayats in 16 States — Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh,
About BharatNet project
- It is the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fibre.
- Implemented by: Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL).
- BBNL is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by the Government of India under the Companies Act, 1956 with an authorized capital of Rs 1000 crore.
- It shall provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions.
- Ministry: Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Communications.
- National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) which was launched in October 2011 was renamed as Bharat Net Project in 2015.
- Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF) set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.
- To facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to rural India.
Phases of the Project
- First Phase:
- Provide one lakh gram panchayats with broadband connectivity by laying underground Optic Fibre Cable (OFC) lines by December 2017.
- Second Phase:
- Provide connectivity to all the gram panchayats in the country using an optimal mix of underground fibre, fibre over power lines, radio and satellite media by March 2019.
- Third Phase:
- From 2019 to 2023, a state-of-the-art, future-proof network, including fibre between districts and blocks, with ring topology to provide redundancy would be created.
Do you know?
- Public-Private Partnership (PPP) involves collaboration between a government agency and a private-sector company that can be used to finance, build, and operate projects. The PPP Model in this critical infrastructure of Telecom is a novel initiative.
- Viability Gap Funding (VGF) means a grant one-time or deferred, provided to support infrastructure projects that are economically justified but fall short of financial viability.