The government has allocated and disbursed Rs 20,431 crore for the BharatNet project till date to connect all 2.5 lakh village panchayats with high-speed broadband network, Parliament was informed Thursday. "A lump sum of Rs 20,431 crore (Rs 10,286 crore for phase-I and Rs 10,145 crore for phase-II) has been allocated and disbursed from Universal Service Obligation Fund to Bharat Broadband Network Limited under BharatNet project," Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
According to official estimates shared in November 2017, the total cost of both phases of BharatNet was Rs 45,000 crore.
As part of the BharatNet project, devices will be provided connectivity through WiFi or any other suitable broadband technology to access broadband or internet services across all the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats (GPs) in the country.
Prasad said, "on an average, the data being consumed per Wi-Fi user (connection) is about 52 MB per month."
"As on July 4, 2019, by laying 3,45,779 kilometre optical fibre cable, a total of 1,31,392 GPs have been connected, out of which 1,20,562 GPs have been made service ready. In addition, 854 GPs have been made Service Ready on satellite media," he said.
Under the BharatNet project about 3620 GPs are planned to be connected over satellite media. These panchayats are located in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Jharkhand and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, are to be provided connectivity through GSAT-11, the minister said.