India’s four billion USD plan to take fiber to the Panchayat level throughout India and to allow operators to use that fiber under open-access arrangements has not drawn much attention internationally. But not that it has started we expect that to change.
The National Optical Fibre Project is being implemented by a newly created entity called Bharat Broadband Networks Ltd (BBNL). The total cost of the project is around Rs 20,000 crore. At a recently held meeting of top Government officials to discuss the status of the project, it was decided that the cable supply contract would be finalised by June 20. However, the legal proceedings could further delay the process. Already, the entire project has been delayed due to procedural issues.
At a meeting held last year, BBNL complained that there was no harmony in the tendering and execution process among the public sector companies. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Powergrid and RailTel are supposed to lay the additional cables required to connect all the villages.
The Government had set a target for operationalising the project by November this year but going by the current pace of activities the actual work may get delayed by 7-8 months. Apart from procedural delays, lack of a proper business case is also plaguing the project.