National Broadband Mission to cover all villages by 2022

The Minister for Communications, Law & Justice and Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the National Broadband Mission is to fulfill all aspirations of the people and enables fast track growth of digital communication infrastructure. He was addressing the gathering after launching the National Broadband Mission (NBM). The Minister of State for Communications, Human Resources Development and Electronics & Information Technology, Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, the Secretary (Telecom), Anshu Prakash and other senior officials were present on the occasion. A large number of representatives from the telecom industry, officers from various Ministries of the Government of India, various State Governments and senior officers of the Department of Telecommunications participated in the event.

The vision of the NBM is to fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure, bridge the digital divide, facilitate digital empowerment and inclusion and provide affordable and universal access of broadband for all.

“The likely investment under the National Broadband Mission is around Rs 7 Lakh crore which is to be catalysed largely by the industry out of which contribution by the government through Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) is envisaged to be around 10 per cent, that is, approximately Rs 70,000 crore which will cover all the states in the country including the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

Some of the objectives of the Mission which is structured with strong emphasis on the three principles of universality, affordability and quality are:

  • Broadband access to all villages by 2022
  • Facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services for across the country and especially in rural and remote areas
  • Laying of incremental 30 lakhs route km of Optical Fiber Cable and increase in tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of population by 2024
  • Significantly improve quality of services for mobile and internet
  • Develop innovative implementation models for Right of Way (RoW) and to work with States/UTs for having consistent policies pertaining to expansion of digital infrastructure including for RoW approvals required for laying of OFC
  • Develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) to measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure and conducive policy ecosystem within a State/UT.
  • Creation of a digital fiber map of the Digital Communications network and infrastructure, including Optical Fiber Cables and Towers, across the country
  • Investment from stakeholders of USD 100 billion (Rs 7 Lakh Crore) including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
  • Address policy and regulatory changes required to accelerate the expansion and creation of digital infrastructure and services
  • Work with all stakeholders including the concerned Ministries / Departments/ Agencies, and Ministry of Finance, for enabling investments for the Mission

Under the National Broadband Mission (NBM), the government envisages providing broadband access to all villages in the country, including those in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, by 2022. As of February 2020, a total of 1,36,693 GPs (including block headquarters) have been made service ready. “Public wi-fi hotspots at 25,000 rural telephone exchanges of BSNL are being provided. As of February 2020, a total of 24,289 Wi-Fi hotspots are installed and out of them, 23,787 are providing services,” the minister said.

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