Bharat Net Project


  • In 2011, National Optical Fibre Network (now called Bharat Net Project) was launched to provide broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats with an affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps.

  • It is being implemented by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) named Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) set up under Companies Act.

  • It is funded through Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)

  • Bharat Net Project is also significant for generation of as much as 5 lakh jobs during the installation of Wi-Fi hot spots.

  • Till now Optical Fibre Cable connectivity has been achieved in 1,03,275 Gram Panchayats (GPs) by laying fibre for 2,38,677 km.

  • Recently, Government has announced that the first phase of Bharat Net Project will be completed by December 2017.

Challenges

  1. High usage of internet through mobile phone –

  • Approximately, 77% of urban users and 97% of rural population believe that the primary source to access internet is through mobile phone.

  1. Security

  • Issues related to data protection, cyber security etc. pose a challenge to provide secure cyber space to users.

  1. High cost

  • Affordability of internet remains an issue which restricts rural population to adopt the services.

  1. Low internet education

  • Internet knowledge and familiarity with applications such as e-mail still remain a challenge.

Way Forward

  1. Increase awareness regarding broadband usage and improve computer knowledge among population.

  2. A better revenue model should be adopted to reduce the prices of the internet.

  3. Low priced laptops and Personnel Computers should be developed to increase the usage as done by the mobile phone manufacturers.

  4. It is imperative to create a fibre first programme where the government as well as private sector, can join hands to double the reach of the telecom fibre network in the country by 2020.

  5. Efforts must be made to improve cyber security and address the issues related to privacy

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