BBNL signs more than 100 agreements with ISPs for the use of BharatNet

In a bid to utilize the optical fiber already installed under the BharatNet project, Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) is contracting private internet service providers to bring internet services to gram panchayat users.

A source said Activity area that BBNL has already signed around 100 revenue sharing agreements with ISPs. “The biggest challenge is to ensure proper use of the fiber once it is deployed. ISPs are bound by a revenue sharing agreement so that they use the broadband network to offer services to their customers,” the source said.

The Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) had facilitated talks between BBNL and members of the association for this purpose. “Several members of our association have signed this agreement with BBNL, some have also started providing Internet services,” an ISPAI executive said. Activity area.

Misuse of BharatNet

BharatNet is a nationwide fiber optic project launched by the government nearly 11 years ago, with the aim of bringing high-speed internet connectivity to rural India. Despite a long incubation period, Capex of nearly ₹42,000 crore and two iterations of this project already launched, the project has seen limited success. The government claims that more than 1.72 lakh gram panchayats have been connected through this project. However, Activity area previously reported that the project recorded a net profit of only ₹1.46 crore in FY21. Clearly, the use of the government fiber optic project is limited.

BBNL has also worked to privatize the fiber optic network by partnering with system integrators by offering them a public-private partnership. However, the tender did not see any takers. Activity area also reported that the Department of Telecommunications is revising the tender accordingly.

New call for tenders

Instead, the DoT has indicated that it is prepared to pay all capital expenditures and contracted systems integrators to service, rebuild and maintain the network. In a bid to attract private players to roll out the national fiber optic project, BharatNet, the Department of Telecommunications is seeking to introduce a new model in which private players will receive annual payments over a 20-year period for construction and installation. maintenance of the rural network. broadband connectivity infrastructure. Last mile services using this infrastructure will likely be distributed separately to interested private actors with financial support from the Center to bridge sustainability gaps.

The ISPAI executive also said Activity area that “BBNL is committed to improving the network and strengthening partnerships with ISPs to provide rural connectivity”.

Published on

June 07, 2022

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