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Bharti Airtel today said that it has partnered with the Department of Telecom (DOT) to boost broadband penetration in rural India by piloting Broadband Experience Centres riding on BharatNet infrastructure.
Under the partnership, Airtel has set up three Broadband Experience Centres in three villages pertaining to Ghazipur, Gorakhpur and Varanasi districts of Uttar Pradesh, the telco said.
Airtel has already committed to partner with BharatNet in up to 30,500 Gram Panchayats, Airtel further said.
As per Airtel, these modern centers will enable citizens and local entrepreneurs to experience high-speed broadband connectivity as well as get access to use cases relating to e-governance, e-health and e-banking and e-commerce and much more.
Going forward, these centers will also demonstrate advanced technologies and use cases around Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things.
Meanwhile, the company is providing 100 Mbps connectivity to these Centers through infrastructure provided under DoT's BharatNet programme.
For providing other digital & web-based services, Airtel has joined hands with Jiva Ayurveda (Online Health consultations), Takshilla E-Learning Services (Educational Content Services), and Amazon (for Amazon Echo smart speakers).
"Access to broadband is a key enabler of inclusive economic growth and social well-being of rural inhabitants. We are pleased to support the commendable initiatives by the DoT to ensure broadband access for every Indian and in particular building the infrastructure backbone under BharatNet," Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel said.
Amazon Echo is a hands-free, a voice-controlled speaker that allows users to seek information, answers, play music, read the news, get weather updates, control smart home devices using simple voice commands.
Jayshree Gururaj, Director - Amazon Devices, said, "Early access to technology, content and the Internet has the proven potential to enrich lives. It breaks down barriers of technical know-how and language. We are pleased to collaborate with Airtel and DoT to introduce users in Ghazipur, Gorakhpur, Varanasi with the latest in voice technology from Amazon Echo smart speakers".
Under BharatNet, the Department of Telecom has embarked upon a visionary project to connect 2.5 Lakh gram panchayat villages with optical fiber connectivity.
In the first phase, one lakh villages have been connected with Optical Fiber for providing seamless broadband connectivity to the rural population.
While the second phase of the project aims at connecting the remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats which are targeted to be completed by March 2019.