The government on Tuesday announced a new ‘mission’ aimed at providing broadband access in all villages in the country by 2022, entailing investments of around ₹7 lakh crore from various stakeholders.
“The National Broadband Mission will facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services across the country, especially in rural and remote areas,” Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, adding that it will also aim at significantly improving quality of services for mobile and internet.
Under the mission, the government plans to lay incremental 30 lakh route km of Optical Fiber Cable, while also increasing tower density from 0.42 to 1 tower per thousand of population by 2024.’
The mission envisages stakeholder investment of $100 billion (₹7 lakh crore), including ₹70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) in coming years and “address policy and regulatory changes required to accelerate the expansion and creation of digital infrastructure and services”.
“The vision of the national broadband mission is to fast-track growth of digital communications infrastructure, bridge the digital divide, facilitate digital empowerment and inclusion, and provide affordable and universal access of broadband for all,” an official statement said.
Under the mission, the Centre will work with States and UTs for having consistent policies pertaining to expansion of digital infrastructure including for Right of Way (RoW) approvals required for laying of optical fibre cable.
Additionally, a Broadband Readiness Index will be developed to measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure within a State/UT.