USOF working on scheme to finance cable internet connections for rural households, Telecom News, ET Telecom

USOF is working on a plan to finance cable internet connections for rural householdsNew Delhi: The government is evaluating a plan to provide financial support to telecom companies to bring cable internet connections to rural households, a senior official said on Tuesday. Speaking at a Broadband India Forum event, Universal Service Obligation Fund manager Hari Ranjan Rao said that 99 per cent of villages are now covered with 4G services and get data at very low cost.

Speaking about the success of the Bharatnet project and the Prime Minister’s vision of bringing fiber optic-based connectivity to all villages, Rao said fiber-based broadband connection will have to be offered at a very competitive price in rural areas.

“Now the thinking that’s going on at the USOF level is that we should also be thinking in terms of planning a scheme so that last-mile connectivity can also be connected through feasibility gap funding so that if we can bring the network directly to villages, it should also be possible to go to homes,” Rao said.

“Fibrization is essential. It is essential for 5G and only around 30% of our towers are fiberized, and this despite government pressure for fiberization,” said SP Kochhar, Director General of the Cellular Operators Association of India. (COAI), adding that an adequate fiberization is required so that it is not a waste of spectrum resource, which has a very high price.

The government aims to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to the 2.5 lakh village panchayats across the country through the Bharatnet project.

“We have reached the 1.47 lakh gram panchayats. The prime minister has announced that all six lakh villages will now have to be covered with fiber optics. So suddenly my task has tripled and the resources and planning are still remain the same. We have to go back to the drawing board and see how this is possible in a much shorter time,” Rao said.

He said the government is also looking at alternative technologies to bring broadband to every village home.

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