Govt hikes allocation for BharatNet project


MUMBAI:  The Government has upped the allocation for BharatNet project, a nation-wide broadband programme, to Rs. 10,000 crore for the coming financial year.

“Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) has been laid in 1,55,000 km. I have stepped up the allocation for BharatNet Project to Rs. 10,000 crore in 2017-18. By the end of 2017-18, high speed broadband connectivity on optical fibre will be available in more than 1,50,000 gram panchayats, with WiFi hotspots and access to digital services at low tariffs,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his Budget speech.

“A DigiGaon initiative will be launched to provide tele-medicine, education and skills through digital technology,” he added.

The Union Budget aims to boost Digital Economy, which will have a positive impact on the telecom sector. Additional outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore for BharatNet and creation of DigiGaon, a definite positive to broadband penetration; however BharatNet implementation track record needs to significantly improve for benefits to reach rural India,” said Jaideep Ghosh, Partner, KPMG in India.

“Broadband penetration has a direct impact on economic growth, employment, innovation and prosperity. Strong push on transport connectivity, and healthcare and education through digital media are likely to have significant long-term impact on the telecom ecosystem,” he added.