Both Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, among other private companies, have shown keen interest in being a part of the BharatNet project’s second phase. For the unaware, the BharatNet project is aimed at providing broadband connectivity to Indians around the country, which includes remote and rural regions. It is an initiative launched by the government that wants to ensure that internet connectivity is offered to the citizens of India on a non-discriminatory basis. As per an ET Telecom report, the private operators weren’t interested too much in the first phase of BharatNet because they didn’t get a clear idea about the quantum of viability gap funding (VGF) for each project package for separate regions.
But this time, the government has ensured that the VGF for each project package for separate regions is clear for the private companies. This has pushed the interest of the companies into being a part of the BharatNet project.
Why Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel Become Good Contenders?
One rule of the government for the project is that the company which is the successful bidder would be required to build, operate, and manage the network under the BharatNet project for the next 30 years. Thus, there is no question that the government would want a company that is backed by a huge private group or has a proven financial history in India to be working on the project.
This makes Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel top contenders for the project. Both the companies are expected to stay in the market for a long time as the entry of a new operator is unlikely to happen right now, and other telecom operators aren’t going to survive for long if their situation doesn’t improve in the near future.
It is worth noting that there are other companies in the mix as well which are Tata Group-backed. Even these companies have a good chance of scoring the project.