“We have a target of 5 lakh fibre-to-the-home connections by September 2020, and are fully confident to achieve it,” Dinesh Kumar Tyagi, chief executive, CSC e-Governance Services India told ETTelecom.
The government’s implementing agency has so far provided 42,360 fibre-based connections in India’s rural and remote locations so far and is expecting aggressive momentum in the days to come following the nationwide lockdown in the wake of novel Coronavirus outbreak.
The Common Service Centres (CSCs) or Digital Seva Kendra are government-backed outlets or kiosks for the digital delivery of multiple citizen-centric services in a cost-efficient manner. India has more than 3 lakh such centres currently.
The digital centres, being managed by village-level entrepreneurs (VLE), are enabling employment and increasing income opportunities within rural India, according to Tyagi, who said that they offer a 50% margin to local entrepreneurs on the sale of each prepaid usage card that comes in various denominations such as Rs 5, Rs 50 and Rs 500.
In June this year, the data usage on the rural network has increased to 206 Terabyte (TB) from 133TB in April and 55TB in January 2020, according to the agency.
“Since there were challenges in panchayats (blocks), schools and other state-owned institutions in maintaining the last-mile network, we had to shift equipment to CSC premises for reasons such as better upkeep, security and seamless power supply,” the top executive said.
In July 2019, CSC was mandated to manage last-mile access across 1.08 lakh village blocks, after it had conducted a pilot in 5,000 villages and subsequently received Internet Service Provider (ISP) license.
Tyagi also denied using any Chinese telecom gear saying that a majority of the equipment was already deployed by the time they took over the ambitious initiative and added that the village entrepreneurs procure it in line with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) norms and specifications.
From merely 22,000 village blocks that were made service-ready in July 2019 by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), the top executive said that 78,704 blocks were up and running in less than a year with the network in more than 98,000 village blocks have been restored presently.
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