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Govt spending on telecommunications infrastructure increases to Rs 60,000 crores

Priyanka Dua

Government spending on telecommunications infrastructure and services in the country has been increased to Rs. 60,000 crores (actual + planned) for the 2014- 19 period.

"There is a six-fold increase in Government spending on telecommunications infrastructure and services in the country - from Rs. 9,900 crores between 2009-14, to Rs. 60,000 crores (actual + planned)," the statement issued by the Department of Communication.

It said average voice tariff declined by 67 percent - from an average per minute tariff of 51 paise in June 2014 to 11 paise in June 2018, while data tariff declined by 96 percent - from Rs. 269 per GB in 2014, to Rs. 12 per GB in June 2018.

It also pointed out that the investment of Rs 10,000 crore was made in expanding Wi-Fi eco-system in rural areas. This includes 25,000 hot-spots by BSNL in rural exchanges, 7,000 hot-spots (e-Choupals) by Common Service Centres (CSCs); an additional 1 million Hotspots planned by March 2019.

The ministry shared that with a total outlay of more than Rs. 10,800 crores, it is connecting border areas, highways, and unconnected villages in the North-East Region.

Under the BharatNet project nearly 50 percent of the total 2.5 Lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country have been connected through high-speed OFC network by October 2018, as compared to 59 GPs in June 2014; plan to complete the remaining GPs by March 2019.

Furthermore, mobile Internet subscriptions more than doubled - from 233 Million in March 2014 to 491 Million in June 2018, the statement said.

Over 107 percent increase in internet coverage - from 251 million users in June 2014 to 512 million in June 2018, the review statement added further.

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