Govt Mulling Open WiFi Hotspots Across 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats to Bridging the Digital Divide

In a bid to bridging the digital divide, Government of India is now looking to set- up high-speed wireless Internet hotspots using WiFi technology across 2,50,000  village – Gram Panchayats, expanding the scope of the ongoing national optical fibre roll out project.

Internet - Broadband

Chairman Telecom Commission and Secretary DoT, Mr. M.F. Farooqui said today that an affordable broadband, relevant content and enabling regulations are required to foster the broadband transformation.

Farooqui also said that while Ministry of Communications & IT is taking care of CAPEX for NOFN deployment, the Ministry of Rural Development will drive the OPEX for rural roll out broadband ecosystem. He emphasized the need of bridging the need for digital divide and shared the plans of building 2,50,000 gram panchayats as Wifi hotspots that will generate demand, local language applications and will bring disruptive level change in the way local entrepreneurship will drive adoption of broadband.

Speaking at the CII Broadband Summit 2014, Secretary-Telecom recognized the challenges in Broadband adoption, specifically in rural areas. He invited Industry to suggest and participate in developing the right models to fully leverage the NOFN infrastructure.

He also suggested that the dated Indian Telegraph Act of 1875 needs to be replaced by a fresh Act to recognize the current and future developments in technology and telecom. On CII request of reduction of spectrum usage charges, he hinted at a gradual reduction of the spectrum charges over next few years. He said that auction is one of the way of acquiring spectrum.

Mr. N Ravi Shankar, Special Secretary and Administrator, USO Fund, DoT & CMD, Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) said that the speed thrills, but absence of speed kills the drive in case of broadband adoption. He added that connecting societies in rural areas will require partnership at public, private and panchayat level.

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  • Yogesh February 20, 2014 6:39 pm

    @BAFANA sir : 20 km distance wifi coverage in Patana (Bihar) : worlds largest : Beat china which has 3.5 km as reported in Economic Times.

  • younus February 19, 2014 11:23 pm

    my comments for rahul and darshan . . .

    cheers . .

  • younus February 19, 2014 11:18 pm

    i am sorry to disappoint you sir, this is not 1990 its 2014,
    even basic android phone of local company is equipped with WiFi now. though they don’t use high end phones but they are adopting the new technologies very fast.
    I don’t think you are a frequent traveller of towns and villages. have a ride to these areas and tell what you saw. . .

    don’t blame any one unnecessarily.

  • rahul February 19, 2014 11:09 pm

    First provide basic amenities (like water,roads,sanitation) etc in villages..what will the people do with internet?

  • Darshan February 19, 2014 10:55 pm

    Whats the use…In villages very few will have wifi supported devices….They would implement the same scheme at some paid rate like 150 or 250 rs a month in Tier I & Tier II cities…. ;-( ….
    Congress is doing lot of advertises like what they have done in 10 yrs…abt telephony I may speak its due to privite companies not bcuz of them that we are getting the QoS…all know what is bsnl.i appreciate & respect Rajiv Gandhi bcuz of which.telecomminication was implemented in India …also what they adv like they have done Concrete Roads in villages but I still dont find them in.my hometowm which is a big city….Its nly for elections nothing else…

  • parveen February 19, 2014 10:54 pm

    Planning is good but I don’t trust on BSNL network & technology they use.

  • Sreedhar February 19, 2014 9:56 pm

    Just another plan on paper, which obviously gonna rott.

  • Dump head February 19, 2014 8:17 pm

    What about national mobile number portability??
    This government only know to give words only not know how to put in action.
    We can expect national mobile number portability and free roaming on coming era of Narendra Modi the great.

  • Akhil Mohan February 19, 2014 8:10 pm

    LOL :)