State-run telecom operator BSNL will set up 25000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the telco's rural exchanges in the rural parts of the country. The telco has inked a memorandum of understanding with (Universal Services Obligation Fund) USOF.
The deployment will see an investment of Rs 942 crore, which will include both capex and opex, to be funded from the Universal Services Obligation Fund.
BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava said that the telco is already in the process of deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots in a big way and hence BSNL will deliver this Wi-Fi project in 6-8 months time and come up with the expectations of the Government to provide internet services through these 25000 Wi-Fi Hotspots.
The opex support of 100 percent will be provided by USOF for the first year and after that 75 percent support in the second year, 50 percent support in the third year of operation. Under this project, 1 Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) will be set up initially in each rural exchange, according to an official release.
Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said that the Indian government is committed to provide internet connectivity in far-flung rural areas as well and bridge the digital divide. "This step of providing internet services through Wi-Fi Hotspots on 25000 rural exchanges of BSNL is in that direction. The Government of India is working on various projects to get more and more citizens digitally connected," he added.
Telecom Secretary Telecom Aruna Sundararajan said that the telecom department is working hard to make more and more citizens of the country connected to the Internet so that they can access various e-governance service initiatives of the government of India and need not travel too far from places to get their works done.
The telco said that reliable internet service through these Wi-Fi Hotspots would be provided through robust fiber backhaul of BSNL and GPON connectivity being extended through BharatNet Project.
Sinha has asked BSNL to roll out 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in next two years.