Rs 7-trn plan to provide internet access to rural areas by 2022 launched

Ravi Shankar Prasad
The government on Tuesday launched the National Broadband Mission to provide broadband access to all villages by 2022, at an estimated stakeholder investment of Rs 7 trillion.

The mission, launched by Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, will facilitate “universal and equitable access to broadband services across the country, especially in rural and remote areas”. 

An incremental 3 million route kilometres of optical fiber cable is planned to be laid, while tower density is expected to increase from 0.42 to 1 tower per thousand of population by 2024. Setting up a National Broadband Mission was part of the plan chalked out by the National Digital Communications Policy 2018, which would be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and public private partnerships.

For the mission, of the Rs 7 trillion investment expected from stakeholders, Rs 70,000 crore will come from the USOF. Prasad called upon the industry to partner in the initiative. “By 2022, we will take broadband to all the villages of India...The number of towers in the country which is about 565,000 will be increased to 1 million,” Prasad said.               

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