State-owned Bharat Broadband Nigam Limited (BBNL) has canceled a Rs 19,000 crore tender launched to connect villages in 16 states to a fibre-based broadband broadband network, following the lack participation of eligible bidders.
The project was approved in June last year to roll out a fiber optic network under BharatNet in 16 states under a public-private partnership model with a total outlay of Rs 29,430 crore.
The government had approved a sustainability gap fund of Rs 19,041 crore for the project which aimed to connect 3.61 lakh villages in 16 states.
The project was divided into nine lots and tenders for each lot were launched separately.
For each of the nine tenders, BBNL said on February 8 that the tender for the corresponding lot “with all its corrigenda is hereby canceled for non-participation of any tenderer”.
An email query sent to BBNL elicited no response.
However, an official source said there was participation from some companies, the bids were evaluated; but the participants failed to qualify.
“The tender will be re-launched after getting feedback from industry. The government is committed to connecting villages to broadband as soon as possible,” said the source, who declined. be named.
The government opted for a public-private partnership after public companies encountered several problems in accelerating projects and missed several deadlines.
The BharatNet project was approved in 2011 as a national fiber optic network with the aim of connecting all 2.5 lakh panchayats to the fiber optic network by 2013.
The project has now been extended to 2025 now.
According to official data, over 1.69 lakh village panchayats have been commissioned for broadband services under BharatNet as of December 31, 2021.