Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) might be awarded the uncovered villages connectivity program by the Indian government. This could be in line with the Government of India’s (GoI) campaign of Aatmanirbhar Bharat for promoting local technology.
Pravin Kumar Purwar, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), BSNL, told ET Telecom that BSNL had sent a proposal to the GoI regarding the same. Purwar is hopeful of a positive response as the GoI itself wants to promote local technology and make India self-reliant.
There are still more than 20,000 villages that are uncovered with connectivity in India at the moment. These villages don’t have access to basic telecom or digital connectivity services. The GoI already has a reserve pool of Rs 58,000 crore in the name of USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) for the same.
BSNL Will Do the Project in a Time Bound Manner
Purwar told the publication that the government is pretty serious, and he is hopeful that the project will be given to BSNL as the telco will look to complete it in a time-bound manner.
It is worth noting that Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, two of the top private telecom companies in India, were recently awarded a project to deploy 4779 telecom sites by the USOF (under the administration of the Department of Telecommunications), which has an outlay of Rs 6,466 crore.
BSNL already has experience in working and deploying telecom networks in difficult terrains and the rural areas of the country and thus is looking to get the USOF projects in the near future.
Back in 2016, BSNL had executed and deployed an LWE-I mobile network initiative, backed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) across ten different states. What was special about this project was that BSNL completed it within a record 18 months.
However, in the previous year, the LWE-II program was awarded to private telecom operators while BSNL was ignored.
Purwar stressed the fact that there is no other telecom operator in the country like BSNL that is deploying indigenous technology.