Bharti Airtel today announced its partnership with Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to boost broadband penetration in rural India by piloting Broadband Experience Centres riding on BharatNet infrastructure. As part of the partnership, Airtel has already set up three Broadband Experience Centres in three villages pertaining to Ghazipur, Gorakhpur and Varanasi districts of Uttar Pradesh. Airtel has already committed to partner with BharatNet in up to 30,500 Gram Panchayats. These centres will enable citizens and local entrepreneurs to experience high-speed broadband connectivity as well as get access to use cases relating to e-governance, e-health and e-banking and e-commerce and much more. Going forward, these centres will also demonstrate advanced technologies and use cases around Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things.
Furthermore, Airtel stated that it would provide 100 Mbps connectivity to these centres using the infrastructure provided under DoT’s BharatNet programme. For providing other digital & web-based services, Airtel joined hands with Jiva Ayurveda (Online Health consultations), Takshilla E-Learning Services (Educational Content Services), and Amazon (for Amazon Echo smart speakers).
Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel said, “Access to broadband is a key enabler of inclusive economic growth and social well-being of rural inhabitants. We are pleased to support the commendable initiatives by the DoT to ensure broadband access for every Indian and in particular building the infrastructure backbone under BharatNet. The Broadband Experience Centers established by Airtel in partnership with DoT riding on BharatNet infrastructure will open the doors to the digital world for millions of Indians and unlock several exciting opportunities for them.”
As you might be aware of, Amazon Echo is a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker that allows users to seek information, answers, play music, read the news, get weather updates, control smart home devices using simple voice commands.
Under BharatNet programme, the government is planning to connect 2.5 Lakh gram panchayat villages with optical fibre connectivity. The project envisions the extension of the optical fibre from block headquarters to the gram panchayat level. In the first phase, one lakh villages have been connected with Optical Fibre for providing seamless broadband connectivity to the rural population.
The second phase of the project aims at connecting the remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats which is targeted to be completed by March 2019.