The Government has put a lot at stake by launching the BharatNet project and is expecting similar outcomes from it. Now it seems that the results are starting to show, as the new reports reveal. As per a report by DoT which was released on April 30, “190% increase in data consumption has been recorded during the last six months in rural areas where broadband internet is provided through Wi-Fi hotspots running on BharatNet Infrastructure”. Also, an official report quoted that the data usage under BharatNet has surged to 95TB in six months. These reports bring positive news for the people as the government has finished extending BharatNet to 1 lakh Gram Panchayats, with 1.5 lakh more GPs targeted to receive the service by the end of this year. Revealing the stats about data usage, the report further stated: “While the first half of last twelve months saw a data consumption of around 33TB, the second half witnessed a consumption of around 95TB.” A growth of almost three times.
The strikingly impressive point about BharatNet is that it will avail internet services in the deepest parts of the GPs which will be charged at the rate of Rs 100 for 12GB with 28 days validity alongside small packs of 500MB, 2GB and 4.5GB for Rs 10, Rs 25 and Rs 50 respectively, with validity of 10 to 28 days.
Under the project, the Government plans on availing internet services to the people in the form of Wi-Fi hotspots in 7,183 Gram Panchayats where these will be known as ‘Wifi Choupals’. The 12 states and Union Territories which are included in the program are Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The latest report by PTI states DoT and CSC-SPV have joined hands to set up these Wifi Choupals in GPs in the 12 states. An official said “High-speed data at cheap price is the main reason for the increase in consumption, and it has been also reported that people are leaving their 3G and 4G data services for Wi-Fi Choupal service. This shows there is a huge demand for data in the rural area, and opportunity needs to be provided.”
The official further added “The benefit of Wi-Fi choupals is that if a person has registered into one of the hotspots, say Bihar, then he can use the service or the plan across any of the Wi-Fi choupals in the country. DoT is working with telecom operators for similar utilisation models in GPs.”
According to present statistics, Karnataka has the highest number of Gram Panchayats where BharatNet will be used to relay internet services at 12,978 locations. Followed by Karnataka, UP has the highest number of GPs with 10,866 Wi-Fi choupals and next up MP with 7,896 choupals.