A committee that was set up by government to look after the NOFN project has estimated the cost of the project to hike three times more than the initial estimates. As per the reports, the government approved the budget of Rs. 20,000, but the NOFN Panel has suggested that the actual cost will surpass Rs. 72,778 crore.
The information was made public by Telecom Ministry stating that the committee had estimated the budget of the project to revolve around Rs. 72,778. However, there are chances of this cost to come down by Rs 6,900 crore, provided the duct infrastructure of BSNL is used for the project. If government opts for this way, the project should be renamed as BharatNet.
The committee has suggested the inclusion of business users and urban areas in the coverage, which was earlier limited to only 2.5 lakh village panchayats.
The committee members include Department of Telecom Joint Secretary V Umashankar, former IT Secretary J Satyanarayana, and USO Fund Administrator Aruna Sudararajan. Besides them, the committee also includes Tapan Ray of Department of Electronics and Information Technology, former Nasscom employuees Kiran Karnik and Som Mittal, and A K Bhargava of DoT.