In order to improve telecom connectivity in the hill areas in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) for setting up 2,817 mobile towers by the BSNL.
Union Minister of State for Communication Manoj Sinha said here on Tuesday that the proposed towers will cover the uncovered villages in the hill districts of the State – Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao and Arunachal Pradesh under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Project for Northeastern region.
While addressing media persons here on Tuesday, Union Minister Sinha said, “For the Northeastern region, telecom connectivity is a major issue. Though the Central government has chalked out various solutions to end the telecom network problems, but due to various reasons the government has failed to come out with those solutions,” adding, “But now, the Department of Telecom has initiated projects worth Rs 10,700 crore to solve the problems with a target to complete these by December 2018.”
Union Minister Sinha said that this amount, which is about 1/8th of the total investment planned by the Department of Telecom, is likely to be increased to Rs 15,000 crore for the Northeastern region.
Sinha, while informing that the Telecom Commission had a meeting on January 9 last where a comprehensive strategy was approved to implement the BharatNet in Northeast, said that under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Project for the Northeastern region, a total of 6,673 towers would be set up for providing telecom connectivity to 8,62l villages at a cost of Rs 5,336 crore. He further added that the work of setting up of 2,004 mobile towers in six States across the Northeast has been initiated by Bharti Airtel in December, 2017, which has been scheduled to be completed within a period of 18 months.