"Internal discussions are going on. We expect to place it (BharatNet) before Telecom Commission next month. If it is approved, then probably, we should be able to submit it to the concerned authorities for final approval by Cabinet within two months," DoT Additional Secretary and BBNL Chairman and Managing Director Aruna Sundararajan told PTI.
Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) is a special purpose vehicle managing roll out of the project. A committee set up under the Telecom Ministry has remodelled the Rs. 21,000-crore National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) started under the UPA government to connect all 250,000 village panchayats with high-speed broadband network.
Under BharatNet, there is a scope to connect urban households (by state government) with broadband speed of up to 20 megabit per second, while NOFN was limited to village panchayat-level only.
The NDA government had revised the timeline for completion of NOFN roll out by December 2016, but the committee estimates that BharatNet will be implemented by 2017-end.
"BharatNet is a new architecture. It is using a lot of other media to provide connectivity then just OFC. It also has a special purpose vehicle model where states can add value to the project... 18 states have so far agreed to set up SPVs for this project," Sundararajan said.
The committee has recommended that in areas where household density is less than 150 and where the distance of the village panchayat from the Block headquarters is over 10km, satellite media be used to provide broadband connection.
Under the SPV model, the states would have the freedom to provide minimum bandwidths higher than 2Mbps, say 10-20Mmbps for households and 100Mbps to 1Gbps to businesses.
BBNL estimates that in the first year of implementation the project can result in the benefit of Rs. 66,465 crores.