The government increased spending on telecom infrastructure and services by six-folds between 2014-19 to Rs 60,000 crore compared to expenditure made on the same in the previous five years, an official statement said Wednesday. “Six-fold increase in government spending on telecommunications infrastructure and services in the country from Rs 9,900 crore between 2009-14, to Rs 60,000 crore (actual and planned) between 2014-19,” an annual official review of the telecom ministry said.
Besides expenditure made in rolling out the optical fibre-based broadband network for a rural area, the government said that it made biggest ever telecom Spend in the North East Region with the allocation of Rs 10,800 crore for ongoing connecting projects in border areas, highways, and unconnected villages.
The telecom ministry shared another major investment of Rs 10,000 crore was made in expanding wifi ecosystem in the country. This includes 25,000 hot-spots by BSNL in rural exchanges, 7,000 hot-spots (e-Choupals) by Common Service Centres (CSCs) and an additional 1 million Hotspots that are planned to be set-up by March 2019.
During the five years, government-funded installation 2335 mobile towers in Left-Wing Extremism affected areas in phase 1 with an outlay of Rs 4,781 crore and working on phase 2 which involves an investment of Rs 7,330 crores for 4,072 mobile towers.
It has also earmarked Rs 2,250 crore for the submarine cable connectivity to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in addition to strengthening connectivity within the islands and in Lakshadweep.
During the period, the number of mobile base transceiver stations (BTS) more than doubled from 7.9 lakh in May 2014 to more than20 lakh in May 2018 and country-wide optical fibre coverage doubled from 7 lakh kilometre in May 2014 to 14 lakh km in May 2018.
“Average mobile data usage per subscriber grew 51 times from 62MB per month to 3.2GB per month,” the statement said. The review statement said that there have been tariff reductions in telecom services rates that has benefitted consumers across the country between 2014-19.
“Average voice tariff declined by 67% from an average per minute tariff of 51 paise in June 2014 to 11 paise in June 2018. Average data tariff declined by 96% – from Rs 269 per GB in 2014, to Rs. 12 per GB in June 2018,” the statement said.