NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel Wednesday 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 Gurgaon-based telco in a statement said.
Sunil Mittal-driven telco has already committed to partner with BharatNet in up to 30,500 Gram Panchayats or village blocks.
Under the BharatNet initiative, the government plans to connect the remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats by March 2019, taking connectivity to 2.5 lakh village blocks covering nearly 6 lakh villages.
Telecom minister Manoj Sinha has recently said that the government has rolled out 3 lakh kilometres of optic fibre cable (OFC) under the ambitious BharatNet program.
The department also plans to leverage BharatNet-driven fibre network to provide public Wi-Fi services.
These centres, according to the market leader, will enable citizens and local entrepreneurs to experience high speed broadband connectivity as well as get access to use services related to e-governance, e-health and e-banking and e-commerce
In future, these centres will also demonstrate advanced technologies and use cases around Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things.
The telco is providing 100 mbps connectivity to these centers through infrastructure provided under the BharatNet program.
For providing other digital and web based services, Airtel has partnered with Jiva Ayurveda for healthcare, Takshilla E-Learning Services for educational content services, and Amazon for Amazon Echo smart speakers.
“Access to broadband is a key enabler of inclusive economic growth and social wellbeing 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 (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel said.
“Early access to technology, content and the Internet has the proven potential to enrich lives. 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,” said Jayshree Gururaj, Director at Amazon Devices.