Can RailTel improve Internet connectivity for rural India?

After getting a fresh look from NOFN to BharatNet, the project is once again seeing some light of day but having already missed two earlier deadlines and still so many complexities around, it will not be surprising if the large-scale project consumes over five years just to start delivering any benefits. However, is it prudent to deprive the rural folks from high-speed Internet for the next five years? Can’t we explore some alternatives to make it accessible to the hinterlands in the next 6-12 months? or in other words, can’t we see a Digital India dream sans NOFN?

Offering another point of view, Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and Group CEO, Greyhound Research, says: “A successful example of implementation of BharatNet by individual state is led by Andhra Pradesh. For executing this project, the state has created its own corporation which is named as Andhra Pradesh Fibre Corporation which would be responsible for managing the network and own the assets. Another body, ‘Digital Andhra Corporation’ which is using Public-Private-Partnership model is responsible for creation of ecosystem for broadband adoption,” he adds.

The government needs to look at various business models to cater to various user segments – households, SMBs and SMEs, clusters and larger enterprises. The pricing for each segment will vary on the usage of each segment, adds Gogia

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