The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has lauded the Indian government’s efforts of bringing telecom connectivity to remote regions of India. The government recently approved a Rs 6,466 crore package for ensuring that remote areas of the country are also connected with mobile networks. The project aims to bring 4G services to 7,287 uncovered villages in 44 aspirational districts across five different states.
The industry body has welcomed the move from the government. Lt General Dr SP Kochhar, DG, COAI, said that this step from the centre is in line with the objectives of the National Broadband Mission for achieving equitable and universal broadband services across India.
USOF Will Empower the Goal
The money will be taken from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which is a corpus of Rs 55,000 crore. For the unaware, the USOF was set up by the government in 2002 to ensure that every part of India could get access to digital services as fast as possible.
The project is aimed to be completed in under 18 months. With 4G services reaching these villages, the telecom operators will get a chance to expand their business. At the same time, this move from the government will benefit the Indian economy in the longer run. Villages from Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh will be facilitated with the development of 4G networks in the next 18 months.
Reaching 7,287 villages across five states with 4G networks in a matter of 18 months would be an amazing achievement for the government. It would have been more fruitful for the government had the state-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) had a 4G presence in the concerned states.
COAI said that this move would help India in bridging the digital divide that exists between the rural and urban areas. Further, the government will be able to achieve the vision of Digital India faster.