Under its ‘Digital India,’ the Centre government through Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has mandated BSNL to setup 25000 Wi-Fi Hotspots in its rural exchanges. The setting up of 25000 Wi-Fi hotspots shall be funded from Universal Service Obligation (USO )fund. Centre shall provide full Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and Operational Expenditure (OPEX) support to the tune of 942 crore for the project.
The OPEX support of 100 percent shall be provided by Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) for the 1st year and thereafter 75 percent support in the 2nd year, 50 percent support in the 3rd year of operation shall be extended to BSNL. Under this project, 1 Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) shall be setup initially in each rural exchange.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed by USOF and BSNL on June 9, 2017 in New Delhi. Minister of Communication Manoj Sinha was also present on the occasion.
Sinha said that the Government is committed to provide internet connectivity in rural far flung areas as well and bridge the digital divide. This step of providing internet services through Wi-Fi Hotspots on 25000 rural exchanges of BSNL is in that direction. The Government is working on various projects to get more and more citizens digitally connected.
Secretary Telecom Aruna Sundararajan said that DoT is working hard to make more and more citizens of country connected to Internet so that they can access various e-governance service initiatives of government of India and need not travel to far of places to get their works done.
CMD BSNL, Anupam Shrivastava informed that BSNL is already in process of deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots in a big way and hence BSNL shall deliver this Wi-Fi project in 6-8 months time and come up with the expectations of the Government to provide internet services through these 25000 Wi-Fi Hotspots.
Reliable internet service through these Wi-Fi Hotspots shall be provided through robust fiber backhaul of BSNL and GPON connectivity being extended through BharatNet Project. The Minister tasked BSNL to rollout 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in next two years.