New Delhi: Mobile connectivity in rural and far-flung areas is set to be redefined with the Central government giving its nod to the Ministry of Telecommunications’ plan of bringing 7,287 villages in remote areas under the coverage of high-speed internet. The villages are located in 44 aspirational districts across five States.
The proposal was in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address in 2021, in which he had called for saturation of the government schemes. “Digital inclusion and connectivity for all is an integral part of ‘antyodaya’ vision of the Government,” the cabinet note said.
The new project is set to bring around 24,680 uncovered villages in remote and difficult areas under the 4G mobile network coverage by the end of this fiscal. The project has a provision to include 20% additional villages on account of rehabilitation, new-settlements, withdrawal of services by existing operators etc. In addition, 6,279 villages having only 2G/3G connectivity shall be upgraded to 4G.
The project will be executed by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) using Atmanirbhar Bharat’s 4G technology stack and will be funded through Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund. The project cost of ₹26,316 Cr includes capex and 5 year opex.
BSNL is already in process of deployment of Atmanirbhar 4G technology stack, which will be deployed in this project as well.
The project is a significant step towards the vision of the Government to provide mobile connectivity in rural areas. This project will promote delivery of various e-governance services, banking services, tele-medicine, tele-education etc. through mobile broadband and generate employment in rural areas.
Officials said that availability of high-speed internet to remote areas would enable the residents to register and claim the benefits of many Central Government schemes online. Many villagers are still unable to claim the benefits, as it required digital operation.