Two weeks after announcing a Rs 3,500 cr order to build the Indian Navy’s communication network, Sterlite Technologies said it won a Rs 1,512 cr order to connect 4,045 panchayats in Maharashtra under the BharatNet project.
The announcement comes close on the heels of GTPL Hathway and Polycab Wires announcing a Rs 1,246 cr order to connect 3,767 panchayats in Gujarat as part of the same project.
BharatNet, also Bharat Broadband Network Limited, is a fiber network being set up by the government of India to provide a minimum of 100 Mbps broadband connectivity all 2.5 lakh village government units (gram panchayats) in the country. It is currently in Phase II.
The backbone is made on an open access model and other ISPs and telcos are able to use for connecting their towers and cables to the Internet.
Sterlite, one of India’s biggest fiber optic cable manufacturers, said it won the order from Maharashtra Information Technology Corporation Limited (MahaIT), the nodal agency for the project in Maharashtra.
MahaIT is working to get all 13,000 panchayats in the state eventually connected to the Gigabit-ready fiber backbone.
Sterlite said its work will cover eight districts and impact over 7.5 million citizens.
SVR Srinivas, head of MahaIT noted that Sterlite has already put up broadband networks for defence agencies and telecom operators. “Now, we are looking at them to bring in their technological expertise and best practices to MahaNet-I,” he said.
Sterlite Tech was also associated with BharatNet in phase I.
The company said it will used techniques such as video surveys, geo-monitoring, sensors and analytics to deploy the network.
“Once the data transmission network is complete, it will ride various applications, including e-education, e-health and e-governance, thereby improving everyday living experiences of the citizens in the region,” said KS Rao, head of telecom services business at Sterlite.