Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday (25 December) said that WiFi services being provided through BharatNet in villages across India will be free of charge till March 2020, reports Times of India.
"We have already connected 1.3 lakh gram panchayats through BharatNet optical fibre network... Our target is to take this to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats. To promote utilisation of BharatNet services, we will provide WiFi free in all villages connected through BharatNet till March 2020," Prasad was quoted in the report as saying.
At present, as many as 48,000 villages connected under the BharatNet project have WiFi access.
BharatNet, also known as Bharat Broadband Network Limited, is a telecom infrastructure provider, set up by the Government of India under the Department of Telecommunications.
The BharatNet project was started with an objective of establishing, managing, and operating of the National Optical Fibre Network to provide a minimum of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) connectivity to all 250,000 gram panchayats in the country.
Prasad also said that banking services will be provided through the common service centres (CSCs). The number of CSCs, which act as access points for delivery of digital services, has increased from about 60,000 in 2014 to 3.6 lakh at present.
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