The centre will shortly launch a scheme to provide public telephone facility to tha remainiong 50,000 newly identified villages, which will conclude its scheme to provide public telephones to all villages in India, under the ambitious Bharat Nirman programme.
The department of telecom is likely to sign agreements soon with the state-owned telecom provider BSNL for providing village telephones to these newly identified 50,000 villages appearing in census 2001. These include villages with population below 100 and those that were left out earlier due to various reasons.
These village public telephones (VPTs) will come up in such uncovered villages with subsidy support from DoT's 'universal service obligation' fund. Installation of public telephones in all villages is expected to be completed by the end of the next year.
The centre is also completing another scheme to provide subsidised public telephone facilities to 66,822 uncovered villages under the Bharat Nirman programme, of which 54,700 have already been covered.
So far, all villages have been brought under the scheme except those with population below 100, or those lying in deep forests or those affected by insurgency. About 5,000 remote villages are being provided with VPT facilitieas using satellite technology, with the installation of digital satellite phone terminals pr DSPTs. The maximum numbers of villages covered so far under the scheme are from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
BSNL has provided telephones to five-and-half lakh villages across the country and also brought 30,500 villages under the reach of its broadband services (See: BSNL brings 30,500 villages under broadband)