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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 04 August, 2020

  • 6 Min Read

Bharat Air Fibre

Bharat Air Fibre

GS-Paper-2 Governance (PT-MAINS)

Recently, Bharat Air Fibre Services have been inaugurated at Akola in Maharashtra providing the residents wireless internet connections on demand. The Bharat Air Fibre services are being introduced by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) as a part of the Digital India initiative by the Government of India. It is being scaled pan-India.

Aim: To provide BSNL fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) wireless connectivity up to a range of 20 km from the BSNL points of presence.

Features:

  • The connectivity speed is 100 Mbps and BSNL is offering various broadband plans in wireline and wireless segments.
  • There is a huge demand for high-speed broadband service in the present situation as there is the migration of people from metro cities to rural areas due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The service is becoming popular due to Work from Home (WFH), e-learning, online shopping, gaming and entertainment, etc. amidst lockdowns. BSNL is also providing unlimited free voice calling.
  • Mechanism: It provides high-speed broadband to subscribers of remote areas by bridging the gap of last-mile connectivity through radio waves. A vast network of Optical Fibre has been laid by BSNL up to nearest Telephone Exchange or Mobile Tower and from there the connectivity is provided to subscribers over wireless.

  • Benefits:
    Customers at remote locations will be benefitted as BSNL comes with the cheapest services with the support of Telecom Infrastructure Partners (TIPs).
  • These services are wireless and there are very low chances of interruption in services locally.
  • BSNL is tying up with local entrepreneurs/unemployed youth on revenue sharing basis thereby generating employment in rural areas.
  • They will earn a regular monthly income of about one lakh per month thereby becoming self-reliant under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
  • This service could be a game-changer for rural areas as with a little integration of Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors, the moisture content of soil can be known on a real-time basis, so that irrigation can be planned, resulting in saving of water and thereby increasing productivity.
  • Sensors can be tied to the neck of dairy cattle, enabling continuous recording of body temperature so as to know the exact time when milk output is best.

Bharat Net project

BharatNet is a flagship mission implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL). It is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by the Government of India under the Companies Act, 1956 with an authorized capital of Rs 1000 crore.
Initially, it was under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, which was bifurcated into the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in July 2016. Currently, it is being implemented by the Department of Telecommunication under the Ministry of Communications.

National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) was launched in October 2011 and was renamed as Bharat Net Project in 2015.

National Optical Fibre Network:

It was envisaged as an information superhighway through the creation of a robust middle-mile infrastructure for reaching broadband connectivity to Gram Panchayats.
The Ministry of Communications has launched the National Broadband Mission that will facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services across the country, especially in rural and remote areas.

Aim:

  • To facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to rural India.
  • To connect all the 2,50,000 Gram panchayats in the country and provide 100 Mbps connectivity to all gram panchayats.
  • To achieve this, the existing unused fibres (dark fibre) of public sector undertakings (PSUs) (BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid) were utilised and incremental fibre was laid to connect to Gram Panchayats wherever necessary.
  • Non-discriminatory access to the NOFN was provided to all the service providers like Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), Cable TV operators and content providers to launch various services in rural areas.
  • The entire project is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.

Implementation:

  • The project is a Centre-State collaborative project, with the states contributing free Rights of Way for establishing the Optical Fibre Network.
  • The three-phase implementation of the BharatNet project is as follows:
      • First Phase: Provide one lakh gram panchayats with broadband connectivity by laying underground optic fibre cable (OFC) lines by December 2017.
      • Second Phase: Provide connectivity to all the gram panchayats in the country using an optimal mix of underground fibre, fibre over power lines, radio and satellite media. It is to be completed by March 2019.
      • Third Phase: From 2019 to 2023, a state-of-the-art, future-proof network, including fibre between districts and blocks, with ring topology to provide redundancy would be created.
  • The participation of states became important in the second phase which involved laying of OFC over electricity poles. This was a new element of the BharatNet strategy as the mode of connectivity by aerial OFC has several advantages, including lower cost, speedier implementation, easy maintenance and utilization of existing power line infrastructure.

Dark fibre

  • It is an unused optical fibre that has been laid but is not currently being used in fibre-optic communications. Since fibre-optic cable transmits information in the form of light pulses, a ‘dark’ cable refers to one through which light pulses are not being transmitted.
  • Companies lay extra optical fibres in order to avoid cost repetition when more bandwidth is needed.
  • It is also known as unlit fibre.

Source: PIB


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