labels: bharat sanchar nigam ltd, telecom
BSNL looking at schools for its WiMax rollout news
22 October 2007
Hyderabad: Public sector telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd''s (BSNL) Wi-Max rollout scheduled for later in 2008 will have a large share of rural play, and will most likely incorporate a major educational component.

A successful bidder is likely to be mandated to wire-up some 40,000 odd primary and secondary schools across the country with wireless broadband.

According to sources at BSNL, an MoU exists to this effect between the HRD ministry and the DoT. Sources indicate that public sector telecom companies have already started a pilot project across eight cities, with 10-11 companies having shown interest in providing equipment for the project.

Last week, an announcement by BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goyal said that the company would soon call for expressions of interest (EoI) for deploying 2 million WiMax lines, in about a week''s time. The order size is estimated at around Rs2,000 crore, and is looking to cover around 25,000 villages in a year''s time. It would also be one of the biggest tender proposals in the world for WiMax equipment procurement and deployment across this wide a scale, and would include wiring up around 50,000 plus internet kiosks across India.

BSNL is likely to synergise its existing tower network for Wi-Max base stations. Limited WiMax networks have been rolled out by telecom companies like BSNL, Reliance, VSNL, Bharti Televentures and Aircel, along with internet service providers like Sify. Others like Tata Teleservices are testing out networks at various places.

Industry sources indicate that in the absence of clarity on the government''s broadband policy and on the spectrum for WiMax, BSNL will most probably be allowed to commence services on a 2.5 GHz spectrum, with a view to avoid delays on the project. On account of low broadband penetration, and the government having set a target of 20 million subscribers by 2010, WiMax is seen by some as the only viable option to achieve the planned numbers.

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BSNL looking at schools for its WiMax rollout