Government is implementing various schemes under Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) to enhance telecom connectivity in the rural and predominately tribal areas of the country including North Eastern Region (NER) and areas affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), Border areas, Aspirational Districts and Islands. Also, BharatNet project is implemented in a phased manner to provide broadband connectivity to all Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country. The scope of BharatNet has been extended up to all inhabited villages beyond GPs in the country. The details of the schemes are attached as Annexure-I.
The Government on 23.10.2019 approved the revival plan for BSNL and MTNL. The Cabinet inter-alia approved administrative allotment of spectrum for 4G services through capital infusion. On 21.12.2020, the Government approved the allocation of spectrum for Delhi/Mumbai to BSNL. Further, the Cabinet in its meeting held on 14-06-2022 has inter-alia reserved spectrum for BSNL for providing 5G services. Testing of Indian make 4G Equipment, under Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, is already at advance stage and the delivery of the equipment will commence after completion of the testing. People will start getting benefitted once this equipment are deployed and commissioned.
Details of schemes/projects to improve the communication network/system in rural, tribal and hilly areas across the country:-
i. Under LWE Phase-I scheme, 2,343 mobile towers have been installed in LWE areas which including 96 mobile towers of the State of West Bengal and are providing services. Under LWE Phase-II scheme, 2,542 mobile towers at Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) identified locations are approved across the LWE States;
ii. Scheme for providing mobile connectivity in 354 villages of uncovered border areas including Ladakh and Kargil Region, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and other priority areas.;
iii. Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for mobile connectivity in the North Eastern Region to provide mobile coverage in uncovered villages and along with the National Highways;
iv. Scheme for providing 4G mobile connectivity in 502 uncovered villages of Aspirational Districts in four States, namely, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan;
v. Scheme for provisioning of 4G based Mobile service in 7287 uncovered villages of Aspirational Districts of 5 States Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha;
vi. Laying of submarine optical fibre cable between Chennai and Andaman & Nicobar Islands for providing connectivity to Andaman & Nicobar Islands;
vii. Submarine OFC connectivity between Kochi and Lakshadweep Islands.
viii. Mobile connectivity to cover uncovered villages and along National Highway (NH 223) in Andaman & Nicobar Islands;
ix. BharatNet project to create network to connect all the Gram Panchayats and villages with broadband infrastructure.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Communications, Shri Devusinh Chauhan in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.