All Gram Panchayats in the country will be connected through Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) to set up a network infrastructure by December 2018 under the government's Digital India Programme, Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the National Optical Fibre Network project, renamed as BharatNet, is one of the pillars of the programme, and through it, the government plans to establish a network infrastructure by connecting all 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats through OFC.
This will be done by using an optimal mix of underground fibre, fibre overpower lines, radio and satellite media, for providing broadband connectivity by all categories of service providers on non-discriminatory basis.
"The project is planned to be implemented in three phases. Under first phase of the project, one lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) are to be connected by laying underground OFC by March 2017.
"Under second phase, connectivity will be provided to remaining 1.5 lakh GPs in the country using an optimal mix of underground fibre, fibre overpower lines, radio and satellite media by December 2018," he said during Question Hour.
Prasad said a state-of-the-art Internet, future-proof network, including fibre between districts and blocks and with for 5G services and Internet of Things era with underground OFC in ring architecture, is planned to be completed by 2023.
"As on July 9, OFC has been laid to 54,023 GPs with a total length of 1,25,642 km. Out of these, 7,312 GPs have been tested with broadband connectivity," he said.