Broadband Internet

SRINAGAR — The J&K Government has constituted a high-level panel headed by Chief Secretary for implementing and realizing the objectives as envisaged in the National Broadband Mission.

The mission was announced by the Government of India on Tuesday last and is aimed at providing broadband access in all villages by 2022, entailing investments of around Rs 7 lakh crore from various stakeholders.

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Besides Chief Secretary as chairman, the 10-member panel comprises of administrative secretaries of Information Technology, U&DD, Public Works (R&B) and Forest, Ecology and Environment, besides senior Deputy Director J&K LSA ((Licensed Service Area) Department of Telecommunication, Chief General Manager BSNL Ltd, Chief General Manager Bharat Broadband Network Limited, J&K, as well as representatives from Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) New Delhi and Towers & Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) New Delhi.

The Committee has been tasked to advice the government, either suo-moto or on a request from the Governing Council or Steering Committee, on the matters relating to accomplishment of the objectives of the mission concerning the Jammu and Kashmir.

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The panel shall also facilitate implementation of the guidelines issued by the Governing Council or Steering Committee, enabling expansion of Broadband services for the socio-economic development of J&K, reads a government order.

Its terms of reference also include addressing of all matters regarding Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) and to monitor and evaluate the work of mission pertaining to J&K. “The Committee shall meet once quarterly and may call other Departments of the Government and experts as per its requirement,” the order said.

Under the mission, the government of India plans to lay incremental 30 lakh route km of Optical Fiber Cable, while also increasing tower density from 0.42 to 1 tower per thousand of population by 2024.

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The mission envisages stakeholder investment of $100 billion (Rs 7 lakh crore), including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) in coming years and “address policy and regulatory changes required to accelerate the expansion and creation of digital infrastructure and services”.

“The vision of the National Broadband Mission is to fast-track growth of digital communications infrastructure, bridge the digital divide, facilitate digital empowerment and inclusion, and provide affordable and universal access of broadband for all,” an official statement issued on Tuesday said.

Under the mission, the Government of India will work with States and UTs for having consistent policies pertaining to the expansion of digital infrastructure including for Right of Way (RoW) approvals required for laying of optical fibre cable.

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