Government will provide mobile connectivity to 55,669 uncovered villages across the country by 2018. According to a Communications Ministry official as part of the Digital India programme, 55,669 villages that do not have mobile coverage till now will be connected during 2014-18.
The official added that mobile services to uncovered villages will be provided in a phased manner with funding from universal service obligation fund (USOF). He further said majority of the initiatives under the Digital India programme will be realised within the next three years.
"Providing high speed internet and mobile connectivity across the country, providing government services online, promoting electronic manufacturing and creating jobs for youth are some of the priorities of government under Digital India programme.
All these initiatives are underway with defined timelines," he added. The government has laid optic fibre cable (OFC) in 23,604 gram panchayats till July to provide high speed broadband connectivity under the NOFN project. The target, though, was to roll out the network across 50,000 village panchayats by March 31.
As part of the project, all the 2.5 lakh panchayats will be connected by 2016 end. The national optical fibre network (NOFN) project was conceived in 2011 and deadline to connect all panchayats was fixed by the end of 2013 which was then deferred to September 2015 by the UPA government.
The NDA government revised the timeline for completion of the project and also changed the name to BharatNet. To expedite the work, a committee was constituted to under former IT Secretary J Satyanarayana to suggest alternatives for faster implementation.