Government today said it could not meet the target of connecting one lakh gram panchayats through high-speed optical fibre network by March 2015 due to factors like limited resources being deployed by agencies and huge size of the project.
Under the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), one lakh gram panchayats were targetted to be connected by March 2015. The deadline has now been extended to December 2016.
"Considering the vastness of project execution, the very limited resources deployed by institutions, coordination with multiple agencies, time required for tendering, mobilisation of physical resources and the budgeted resources, the time line for completion of NOFN project could not be met," Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
NOFN was planned in 2011 to connect all gram panchayats through optic fibre cable (OFC) utilising existing fibre network of state-run BSNL, Power Grid Corporation and Railtel, and laying incremental fibre wherever required.
Under this project, at least 100 Mbps bandwidth has to be provided in all the estimated 2.5 lakh gram panchayats.
Under the first phase of the project, one lakh gram panchayats were to be connected by March 2015.
"As on March 6, 2016, OFC laying in 42,110 gram panchayats has been completed and 1,26,799 kilometer pipe laid for OFC as against 59 panchayats and 2,000 kilometer pipe laid for OFC as on May 31, 2014," Prasad said.
The minister added that Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended a public private partnership model based on build-own-operate-transfer for implementation of NOFN, which has been renamed BharatNet.