02 Feb Government allocates Rs 14,200 crore for telecom infra roll out in 2021-22
NEW DELHI: The government on Monday allocated Rs 14,200 crore for telecom infrastructure that entails completion of optical fibre cable-based network for Defence services, rolling out broadband in 2.2 lakh panchayats and improving mobile services in the North East.
The government had approved Rs 24,664 crore for an advanced communications network for defence services in lieu of their vacating spectrum for mobile telephony in May 2018. The project was to be completed within 24 months.
According to the budget document, the finance ministry has earmarked an outlay of Rs 5,200 crore to rollout the entire optical fibre cable (OFC) required for setting up the Defence communications network, issue purchase order for all equipment components for the entire project to commission nationwide dedicated full-fledged communication network.
The finance ministry has allocated Rs 9,000 crore to boost telecom connectivity across the country which includes high-speed OFC or satellite-based broadband services across the 2.2 lakh village panchayats in the next financial year.
The government has set a target to lay 6.7 lakh kilometer of OFC, 1.2 lakh wifi access points and 6.5 lakh fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections to be installed in 2021-22.
The budget has made provision to instal 600 mobile towers for 4G services in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam and another 600 mobile towers for 4G in Meghalaya.
Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (TEMA) chairman emeritus NK Goyal said it has been demanding funds for optical fibre-based infrastructure.
“The fund allocation for telecom infrastructure is the need of the hour specially for the north east. This will be a life line for our citizens of North East,” Goyal said.
Andaman and Nicobar Island, which has been connected with OFC in August, will get 124 mobile towers for 4G service, naxal affected areas will get 1,000 mobile towers, aspirational districts will get 350 mobile towers and 354 villages uncovered in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and in border areas will get one mobile tower each.
“It is very heartening to see the government allocating additional funds for expansion and strengthening of telecom networks in remote and unconnected areas. Improving broadband connectivity in villages through expansion of BharatNet will give a much needed push to Digital India initiative,” Telecom Export Promotion Council (TEPC) chairman Sandeep Aggarwal said.