The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended a public-private partnership (PPP) model for faster roll out of broadband network in rural India.
A PPP model on the lines of the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer/Build, Operate and Transfer projects in the infrastructure sector that aligns private incentives with long-term service delivery should be the preferred means of implementation, said the sector regulator.
Trai wanted the government to hand over the job of deployment and implementation of the optical fibre cable and other network infrastructure as well as operating the network during the period of contract to the concessionaires.
The regulator has also suggested that the contract period should be of 25 years which can be further extended in blocks of 10, 20 or 30 years.
At present, a special purpose vehicle Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) under the telecom ministry is handling roll-out of optical fibre network. The project is being executed by BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid.
The UPA government had approved Rs20,000 crore for laying optical fibre network in 2011 but the project has missed all deadlines.
The present NDA government had fixed this deadline for completing the roll out of optical fibre in a phased manner by December 2016.
In January, then telecom secretary Rakesh Garg said that it will be completed by 2018. Trai has maintained that the national optical fibre network (NOFN) project has failed in achieving its original objectives on increasing broadband subscription in the country.