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 Government to connect 5,000 blocks with broadband

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PostSubject: Government to connect 5,000 blocks with broadband   07/09/08, 10:34 am

The government on Tuesday said it would connect 5,000 blocks through wireless broadband soon after the allocation of the third generation spectrum.

In a statement, the Department of Telecom (DoT) said this will be done with support from DoT's Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) after allocation of spectrum through an auction later this year.

Private players contribute five percent of their earnings to the USOF, which is aimed at promoting rural telephony.

The villages that come in the radius of 10 kilometres of the block headquarters will be connected, DoT said.

With this step, schools, public health centres, village panchayats and the community service centres (CSCs) meant to provide e-governance and data services to rural areas would be benefited.

Currently, the state-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) provides broadband to 1,000 blocks out of around 6,000 in the country.

Similarly, about 50,000 out of a proposed 100,000 CSCs are covered by BSNL broadband. DoT's new initiative is likely to cover the remaining blocks and all CSCs.

Besides, DoT also proposes to support wireline broadband by USOF wherever feasible, the statement added.

The government has held discussions with technology providers, telecom operators and Internet service providers for meeting its wireless broadband plan and to formalise the tender procedures, specifications and deliverable formulation, and benchmarks.

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