TRAI Invites Comments on BharatNet Deployment


India’s telecommunication watchdog TRAI, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has issued a consultation paper on rolling out the national optical fibre network (NOFN), which has been renamed ‘BharatNet’.

TRAI had issued guidelines on roll out of BharatNet on April 2015. Though the watchdog had recommended measures to roll out the network for building broadband highways for ushering in Digital India, it did not take off due to lack of consensus on the mode of implementation.

An expert committee of the department of telecommunications (DoT) also submitted its report to the watchdog with three implementation models. “TRAI has looked into Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (Boot) as an alternate model for implementing the ambitious national network” says the regulator in a statement.

For the state-run Digital India programme, the minister of IT and Communications plans to connect all the 6 lakh villages and 250,000 Panchayats (local governing bodies in India) through the optical fiber-based broadband network over the next three years to offer public services to the people across the country.

TRAI has posted the consultation paper on its website –– for comments from stakeholders by December 7.

“The paper raises policy issues on implementing the national project and DoT’s recommendation of three models with risks and advantages,” the statement said.

The paper also deals with challenges of the Boot model, eligibility criteria for the executing agency to avoid conflict of interest and monopoly and means of funding.

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