India today launched the second phase of bharatNet, the extended broadband network to provide free connectivity to all p gram panchayats and all village level administration units .

With an outlay of around Rs34,000 crore—to provide high-speed broadband the government aims to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats through 10 lakh kms of additional optical fiber and give bandwidth to telecom players at nearly 75% cheaper price for broadband and WiFi services in rural areas.

The total project cost of BharatNet is around Rs45,000 crore, of which Rs11,200 crore have been used for the first phase. BSNL will roll out optical fibre in eight states—Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim .

Studies show that Rs 4.5 lakh crore value can be added to the national gross domestic product on completion of BharatNet phase 2 and that every 10% usage of Internet in India drives up GDP by 3.3%.

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