The Indian telecom sector has been rapidly making investments in rural India with the help of USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) to ensure the government’s vision of Digital India remains intact. As per the data recently shared by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the National Broadband Mission has helped broadband connectivity reach over 93.21% of villages in the country. What’s worth noting here is that by 2022, the aim of the National Broadband Mission was to reach 100% of villages with broadband connectivity. India is still a little far from that.
This is not a bad figure, however. The government wants to use the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model for leveraging the fiber network laid under the BharatNet Project to provide last-mile connectivity to citizens in India.
Broadband Reach is Essential to Rural India
Rural parts of the country, including villages, are a big part of the Indian market. At the end of 2021, there were 1,154.62 million subscribers in India, out of which 521.28 million users, which is 45.15% of the total subscriber base, were in rural India.
But the tele-density in rural areas was only 58.28%, while in the urban areas was 132.68%. There’s a clear digital divide that the government is trying to end.
The National Broadband Mission was announced to digitally empower each and every Indian citizen regardless of the area they are living in. The government recognised that universal access to broadband should be given to everyone.
The GatiShakti portal announced by the DoT is an effort to make the RoW (right of way) applications process faster so that the digital infrastructure of India can be aggressively expanded.
The deliverables of the project was bringing broadband access to every village by 2022 and more. That couldn’t happen because of multiple reasons including the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Broadband Mission was conceptualised with a five-year plan. Despite the challenges, the government is expanding the broadband reach in India to new parts quite fast.