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Govt announces affordable tariffs for rural broadband connectivity

Telecom service providers have come forward for utilising the BharatNet connectivity.

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In order to provide affordable broadband services in rural India, a new attractive and affordable tariff structure has been decided with the principle of more you use, less you pay. This tariff structure is expected to be reflected in the tariffs to be charged from the consumers by the service providers.

For asymmetrical bandwidth between blocks to gram panchayats, the charges per annum varies from Rs 700/- per Mbps for up to 10Mbps and Rs. 200/- per Mbps for 1 Gbps. However, for symmetrical bandwidth between blocks to gram panchayats, charges have been prescribed as Rs.1000/- per Mbps up to 10Mbps, and Rs.500/- per Mbps for 100 Mbps per annum. Tariff for any intermediate bandwidth shall be calculated on pro-rata basis, a Government of India statement said.

Further, discount of 5% to 25% have been offered for taking bandwidth in more than 1000 gram panchayats to more than 25,000 gram panchayats in a single application. Further, to lower the entry barriers, port charges at blocks and gram panchayats have been waived off. Tariffs for dark fibre are prescribed as Rs.2250/- per fibre per km per annum for service providers and Government agencies.

After such initiatives have been taken by the government, Telecom service providers have come forward for utilising the BharatNet connectivity. Airtel has shown interest in 10,000 gram panchayats for taking 1 Gbps connectivity on lease while Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Idea are interested in taking 100 Mbps connectivity on lease in about 30,000, 2000 and 1000 gram panchayats respectively. The rolling out of services by Telecom service providers in these gram panchayats is expected to trigger the village level eco-system thereby widening the extent to cover more and more number of gram panchayats in near future. This will give an impetus to broadband facilities in rural India.

BharatNet, a flagship project of the Government of India to provide Broadband services in rural and remote areas has entered in service provisioning phase. As on 05.11.2017, Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connectivity has been achieved in 1,03,275 gram panchayats by laying fibre for 238,677 km. Due to several measures initiated to accelerate the end-to-end connectivity, GPON equipment has been installed in 85,506 gram panchayats and 75,082 gram panchayats are Services Ready.

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