BENGALURU: All 6,092 gram panchayats in Karnataka will get 100 Mbps broadband internet connectivity by November, said Aruna Sundararajan, Telecommunication Secretary here on Thursday. At present, 643 villages have WiFi connectivity, where people can access free internet up to 100 Mbps per day per user.
“Karnataka can act as a role model for the rest of the states. Here the data consumption is 700-800 MB per user per day even in remote areas. There are 8,000 towns here and 5,000 have been covered by 3G. There is a strong push for 4G. There is vibrant competition at the grassroots level with private providers in the foray,” Aruna told Express.
As many as 3,800 gram panchayats are using the existing Bharat Net service for various schemes and the Government to Citizen Services. Bharat Net is the new brand name of National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) which was launched in October, 2011, to provide broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats. It supports Karnataka State Wide Area Network in 206 gram panchayats in Mysuru district. It has proposed to enable WiFi in 4,000 more villages. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has requested the Telecom Service Providers and Internet Service Providers to leverage Bharat Net network to provide services.
In Karnataka, 99 per cent of the gram panchayats have optical fibre and 93.2 per cent have been tested for high speed internet.BSNL has drawn plans to provide 20,000 fibre connections to homes in rural areas using Bharat Net. They have provided 346 high speed broadband connections. It is proposed to enable WiFi in 2,000 more villages with the support of the state government and additional 2,000 villages with the support of Universal Service Obligation Fund of DoT.
With internet access penetration in rural areas, it is expected that the economy of these villages will improve by increased chances of employment and economic activities.In Karnataka, Bharat Net is implemented by BSNL and Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. The budget allocated for the state is `652 crore. The implementation in the state started in April, 2013, for 5,631 gram panchayats and 461 new gram panchayats were added to this project in July this year.