Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), India’s largest telecommunications services provider said that it has partnered with the Department of Telecom to boost broadband penetration in rural India by piloting Broadband Experience Centres riding on BharatNet infrastructure.
Under the partnership, Airtel has set up three Broadband Experience Centres in three villages pertaining to Ghazipur, Gorakhpur and Varanasi districts of Uttar Pradesh. Airtel has already committed to partner with BharatNet in up to 30,500 Gram Panchayats.
These modern centres will enable citizens and local entrepreneurs to experience high speed broadband connectivity as well as get access to use cases relating to e-governance, e-health and e-banking and e-commerce and much more. Going forward, these centres will also demonstrate advanced technologies and use cases around Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things.
Airtel is providing 100 mbps connectivity to these Centers through infrastructure provided under DoT’s BharatNet programme. For providing other digital & web based services, Airtel have joined hands with Jiva Ayurveda (Online Health consultations), Takshilla E-Learning Services (Educational Content Services), and Amazon (for Amazon Echo smart speakers).
Amazon Echo is a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker that allow users to seek information, answers, play music, read the news, get weather updates, control smart home devices using simple voice commands.
Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel said, “Access to broadband is a key enabler of inclusive economic growth and social wellbeing of rural inhabitants. We are pleased to support the commendable initiatives by the DoT to ensure broadband access for every Indian and in particular building the infrastructure backbone under BharatNet. The Broadband Experience Centers established by Airtel in partnership with DoT riding on BharatNet infrastructure will will open the doors to the digital world for millions of Indians and unlock several exciting opportunities for them.”
Jayshree Gururaj, Director - Amazon Devices, said, “Early access to technology, content and the Internet has the proven potential to enrich lives. It breaks down barriers of technical know-how and language. We are pleased to collaborate with Airtel and DoT to introduce users in Ghazipur, Gorakhpur, Varanasi with the latest in voice technology from Amazon Echo smart speakers”.
Dr Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda said, “Jiva Ayurveda is a leading Ayurvedic treatment service provider company which runs the largest telemedicine center in the world for Ayurveda. We are proud to partner with Airtel and applaud the efforts of DoT in this breakthrough and ambitious initiative of BharatNet. Connecting the 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats will ensure that affordable, quality healthcare becomes accessible at the complete grassroots level.”
Under BharatNet, the Department of Telecom (Government of India) has embarked upon a visionary project to connect 2.5 Lakh gram panchayat villages with optical fiber connectivity. The project envisages the extension of optical fiber from block head quarter to the gram panchayat level. In the first phase, one lakh villages have been connected with Optical Fiber for providing seamless broadband connectivity to the rural population. The second phase of the project aims at connecting the remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats which is targeted to be completed by March 2019.