India’s national broadband network to be delayed by two years

India’s national broadband networkCompletion of India’s national broadband network, part of the government’s “Digital India” program, is expected to be delayed by at least two years.

The network, also known as BharatNet, was due for completion by the end f 20-16, but that date has since been changed to December 2018 at the earliest. Aruna Sundararajan, the managing director and chairwoman of Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), said that the delay was due to increases in the scale of the project and a three-fold rise in costs. The rollout of the state-owned company’s initiative is now expected to cost US$10.8 billion, and the government has yet to approve the revised cost.

BharatNet was originally planned to provide connectivity to 250,000 gram panchayats (village councils), but the project has since been extended to include 300,000 schools, 30,000 health centers, 200,000 government institutions and the installation of 250,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots. To date, a total of 58,400 km of fiber-optic cable has been installed, covering 25,204 gram panchayats in Kerala, Chandigarh, Puducherry and Karnataka.

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