The government has decided to rename the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) broadband project as BharatNet. This new name has been recommended to telecom & IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad by a committee set up by the PMO to analyse the structure of the national optical fibre network (NOFN), which was initiated by the UPA regime.
Under new name, the committee is expecting to provide cheap broadband services across all region in India. It has recommended that broadband should d be available at prices below Rs 150 per month in poorer states and around Rs 250 per month in more economically advanced states, with speeds ranging between 2 Mbps and 20 Mbps for all households. It has further recommended on-demand capacity to all institutions. The present scheme promises download speed of up to 100 megabit per second
It will subsume all the ongoing and proposed broadband network projects taking the BharatNet project outlay to about Rs 72,000 crore.
Till now government has covered 20,000 village panchayats with broadband connectivity through national optical fibre network (NOFN). It had set a target of 50,000 village panchayats by March 31, 2015 and all 2.5 lakh village panchayats by the end of 2016.
The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project was initiated in 2011 and funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh (200,000) Gram panchayats of India at a cost of Rs.20,000 crore ($4 billion). Government of India had given approval of the project on 25-10-2011. It had to connect all gram panchayats by the end of 2013 but later it was deferred to September 2015 by UPA government.
The BJP-led government re-examined status and set target to complete roll out in 50,000 VPs by March 31, 2015, another 1 lakh by March 2016 and rest of the VPs by end of 2016.
The panel which included Telecom Ministry officials -- Aruna Sundararajan and V Umashankar as well as industry experts Kiran Karnik and Som Mittal -- has made 80 recommendations including renaming of project as 'BhartNet' which should be completed by 2017.
The panel has suggested make connectivity ring like architecture at district, block and village panchayat level and mix various technology such as -- optical fibre network along with microwave back-haul spectrum and satellite for regions with difficult terrain and interconnect them.