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New tender to cover 3.61 lakh Villages in 16 States

PPP for a concession period of 30 years

Government to provide Viability Gap Funding of Rs. 19,041 crores

New Delhi, NFAPost: Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), on behalf of the Department of Telecommunication, (the “Authority”) has invited global tender for the Development (Creation, Upgradation, Operation & Maintenance and Utilisation) of BharatNet through Public-Private Partnership model in 9 separate packages across 16 states for a concession period of 30 years. Under this project, the government will provide a maximum Grant of Rs. 19041 Crore as Viability Gap Funding.

The Project shall cover an estimated 3.61 lakh Villages (including Gram Panchayats) across Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

The existing BharatNet was connecting all the Gram Panchayats (GPs) of the country by laying of OFC (primarily) between Block and GPs. The scope of BharatNet has now been enhanced to connect all the Inhabited Villages of the country, approx. 6.43 lakhs (inclusive of GPs).

The scope of work under BharatNet PPP Project includes:

Connecting the remaining unconnected GPs under BharatNet project (Phase 1 & Phase 2) and all the inhabited Villages beyond the GPs.

Upgradation of the existing BharatNet Network from Linear to Ring topology.

Operation and Maintenance (O&M) and Utilisation of the existing as well as the newly deployed network.

The existing BharatNet network across these 16 States will become part of this Project. Last Date of submission of Tender bid is 24/08/2021

The project will be executed through a Design, Build, Finance, Operate & Transfer (DBFOT) concession on PPP framework. The idea is to harness private sector’s capability, capacity, and efficiency for O&M, utilization and revenue generation to make BharatNet more effective and accessible.

This would also serve the objective of BharatNet to have social inclusion, through effective delivery of Govt. schemes and citizen-centric services using broadband, and also to strengthen e- Governance, e -Education, Tele medicine, e- Banking etc.

BBNL is carrying out an open, competitive bidding process with single stage, two-part bidding (‘Qualification bid’ and ‘Financial Bid’) for the selection of the Bidder for awarding the Project. The bids for each of the package need to be submitted separately.

Tender documents will be available for downloading from 20.7.2021, 15.00 Hrs. from CPP portal www.etenders.gov.in. The document can also be viewed from BBNL website http://www.bbnl.nic.in.

Once awarded, the selected Bidder shall create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), sign the agreement, achieve Financial Closure and undertake creation, upgradation, operation & maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet across the concession period.

The BharatNet infrastructure is a middle mile network that is presently leased to service providers for providing affordable high-speed broadband to rural population – individuals, households and institutions. BharatNet is Govt. of India’s flagship project and is considered to be the backbone of ‘Digital India’ aiming to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural India.

BharatNet network is created by BBNL is to provide affordable high-speed broadband access to rural citizens and institutions of all the gram panchayats of the country. The ISRO satellites will be using Hughes’ proprietary Jupiter system, a VSAT (very small aperture terminal) platform designed to offer highest possible capacity and efficiency for satellite broadband implementations. It is currently being used in over 40 satellites worldwide.

The timeline for the second phase of BharatNet project, earlier slated to be completed by August 2021, will now be extended as its pace was affected by the lockdown and movement curbs imposed by various governments due to COVID-19. As on September 1, 2020, close to 23,133 Gram Panchayats (including block headquarters) have been made service ready, and 1.47 lakh km of optical fibre cable has been laid under BharatNet phase-2.

The total cost of BharatNet, approved by the cabinet in July 2017, stands at Rs 42,068 crore, and as on September 1, 2020, Rs 24,473 crore has been disbursed by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL).

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