BSNL To Connect 1 Lakh Panchayats with High Speed WiFi in a year

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With India having the slowing internet connectivity in Asia Pacific, day-to-day things get tougher in connecting large urban areas to rural areas. Rural areas themselves do not have enough infrastructure to set up fancy equipment for faster internet, which is a big deterrent to the growth of such areas as well as to the overall economy.

State-owned Telco, BSNL, is looking to connect 1 Lakh village Panchayats in a year by providing high-speed broadband connections, until the Government’s rural broadband projects finally rolls out.

Anupam Shrivastava, Chairman and MD – BSNL, told PTI, “The process of laying fibre network calls for huge amount of physical labour. We have started a pilot to test broadband connectivity to village panchayats using Wi-Fi network. With this we are hopeful of connecting about 1 lakh village panchayats in a year.”

BSNL has also written to the Telecom Department seeking approval for commercial rollout of the scheme. Tests are being conducted in three villages in Alwar, Rajasthan.

Some details of the project

Vihaan Networks, a telecom equipment manufacturer specifically for rural markets, is aiding BSNL in implementing the project in villages.

Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman – Vihaan Networks, said, ”Government is exploring best possible technological options to expedite the implementation of National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN). With this Wi-Fi-based technology, we are able to deliver benefits of broadband in villages where there is no connectivity.”

Till now, 6km of wireless network has been set-up using Wi-Fi towers in three villages in Bhiwadi, namely Karenda, Phalsa and Bahadri. Test connections have already been provided in the villages, including some select residents and schools.

If you remember, BSNL had planned to launch 100MBPS internet across India in 2011, but the project got delayed and actually never got implemented country-wide. The Government’s initiative to connect villages has also got delayed.

This way BSNL aims to connect at least 1 Lakh villages through high speed broadband internet in a year and whole country by 2018. The project seems ambitious as per the deadlines, but not too unrealistic.

Connecting villages and small rural areas with each other as well as urban regions will initiate effective communication and provide more opportunities to residents of these areas.

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