With a population of 3,929, Mawniandlah from Meghalaya has become the first gram panchayat in the country to get linked with satellite-based high-speed Internet connectivity under the central government’s BharatNet project.
BSNL demonstrated the live working of Mawniandlah panchayat connected through satellite.
Mawniandlah panchayat is located in Mylliem rural development block, about 14 km from Shillong. Union minister of state for communication Manoj Sinha has tweeted about the development via his Twitter handle:
Inaugrated first Satellite linked Gram Panchayat of India in Meghalaya pic.twitter.com/nSnAFZle29
— Manoj Sinha (@manojsinhabjp) January 16, 2018
The development comes at a time when Telecom Commission approved a comprehensive strategy to implement BharatNet in the Northeast. BharatNet aims to connect 4,240 panchayats in the region through the broadband Internet by satellites by the end of this year.
The government’s plan to prioritise connecting Northeast region with a high-speed broadband Internet has been decided given the strategic importance of the region.
Government is estimated to incur a cost of Rs 733 crore for connecting 4,240 panchayats in the entire Northeast region.
The NDA-led central government has laid out an ambitious plan to connect 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats with high-speed broadband by the end of the current calendar year.
While the govt claims to provide Internet-connectivity to one lakh Gram Panchayats by underground Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) in the first phase, started in December 2017 the second and final phase of BharatNet project eyes to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats with an outlay of around Rs 34,000 crore.
This would be done through a mix of underground fiber cables, fiber over power lines, radio and satellite media.
Meanwhile, Karnataka government had kicked-off a project to install WiFi facilities in all gram panchayats across the state in November last year. The Wi-Fi service is to be provided up to a range of 1 kilometer from the Gram Panchayat office.