BharatNet 2nd phase takes off, Jio pays highest fee
The second phase of BharatNet project with an outlay of ~31,000 crore and a mandate to provide high-speed broadband to all panchayats by March 2019 got off the block on Monday. Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, along with Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi announced commencement of the phase. Reliance Jio paid the highest advance subscription fee of ~13 crore to provide broadband services at 30,000 village panchayats, with a commitment to buy bandwidth in every panchayat from the government as it expands the project. “We have paid over ~13 crore including the GST to buy bandwidth from BharatNet. We will initially cover 30,000 village panchayats and going forward, will set up node in every panchayat as the government expands BharatNet,” Reliance Jio Director Mahendra Nahata said after handing over the cheque to Sinha.