The Indian telecommunications sector has been rapidly investing in rural India with the help of the USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) to ensure that the government’s vision on digital India remains intact. According to data recently shared by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the National Broadband Mission has helped broadband connectivity reach more than 93.21% of villages nationwide. What should be noted here is that by 2022, the goal of the National Broadband Mission was to reach 100% of villages with broadband connectivity. India is still a bit far from it.
It’s not a bad number though. The government wants to use the public-private partnership (PPP) model to leverage the fiber network set up under the BharatNet project to provide last-mile connectivity to Indian citizens.
Broadband reach is essential for rural India
Rural parts of the country, including villages, make up a large portion of India’s market. At the end of 2021, there were 1154.62 million subscribers in India, of which 521.28 million users, or 45.15% of the total subscriber base, were in rural India.
But the tele-density in rural areas was only 58.28%, while in urban areas it was 132.68%. There is an obvious digital divide that the government is trying to close.
The National Broadband Mission has been announced to digitally empower every citizen of India regardless of the region they live in. The government has recognized that universal broadband access should be available to everyone.
The GatiShakti portal announced by the DoT is an effort to expedite the processing of right of way applications so that India’s digital infrastructure can be aggressively expanded.
Project deliverables were bringing broadband access to every village by 2022 and more. This could not happen for several reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Broadband Mission was conceptualized with a five-year plan. Despite the challenges, the government is quite rapidly expanding the reach of broadband in India to new parts.