KOLKATA: India’s ambitious Rs 21,000-crore national broadband venture is set for another delay. The communications ministry is likely to miss the revised rollout targets of the venture with Bharat Sanchar Nigam, Power Grid Corporation of India and RailTel failing to award nearlyRs 6,000 crore of cable laying & trenching (C&T) contracts for the first phase.
Cable laying and trenching is the most expensive piece of the countrywide broadband rollout, popularly known as the national optic fibre network (NOFN) venture that will take superfast internet to the hinterlands. Staterun BSNL, PowerGrid and RailTel have been mandated to handle cable laying and trenching responsibilities in the 70:15:15 ratio, and the final value of the contracts will be over Rs 11,000 crore.
The NOFN project has already suffered a two-year time overrun, following which the telecom department recently sought the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) to implement the pan-India broadband rollout in three phases, starting with high-speed broadband links in 1 lakh gram panchayats (GPs) at an investment of over Rs 11,000 crore by March 2014. Read More
By Kalyan Parbat