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To provide high-speed internet connectivity to thousands of villagers, the Gujarat government aims to lay 36,000 kilometres of optical fibre across the state by March 2020, in the second phase of the Centre’s ambitious BharatNet initiative. The first phase saw 16,000km of optical fibre laid to provide broadband connectivity to 6,400 gram panchayats.

“An optical fibre network of 36,000km will be laid in Gujarat in the second phase, or ‘BharatNet 2’. Some 20,000km of fibre has been laid. We aim to finish the remaining 16,000km by March 2020,” said Dharmendra Sharma, director, technical and infrastructure (ITS), Gujarat Fibre Grid Network Ltd (GFGNL).

Gujarat government floated the special purpose vehicle (SPV) GFGNL to work with the Centre’s Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL), which is setting up the optical fibre network under the BharatNet project.

GFGNL has been established under Gujarat’s science and technology department and is creating a backbone network which will help mobile operators, internet service providers and government agencies to deliver multiple services to the doorsteps of villagers.

Of 7,692 villages, optical fibre connectivity has already been provided to 3,651 gram panchayats in the second phase as of December 2019. “The project is at an advanced stage. All 14,000 gram panchayats will be broadband-enabled after the second phase,” Sharma added.

These gram panchayats are to be connected with a 100 Mbps bandwidth which is scalable up to 1 Gbps. “Gujarat is far ahead of other states in implementing this initiative, which will connect villages to the state capital Gandhinagar. People in rural areas will be able to get several e-services from the government,” said the science and technical education secretary, Hareet Shukla.

“School, colleges and hospitals under these panchayats will also benefit. Our plan is to provide services like e-education, e-health, e-agriculture services, e-government and internet to all villagers by 2020,” Sharma added.

ITI Ltd and GTPL Hathaway Ltd and Polycab India Ltd are implementing the project through the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) model. The Centre has sanctioned Rs 1,943 crore for the second phase of BharatNet, while the outlay was Rs 500 to Rs 600 crore for the first phase.

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Quelle/Source: The Times of India, 09.01.2019

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