India orders 180-day sprint to wire 46,000 villages

At least one WiFi access point and five FTTP connections in each

India’s government has ordered a broadband building blitz that will see all 45,945 villages in the State of Bihar connected by optic fibre before March 31st, 2021.

Bihar sits south of Nepal and is India’s third-most-populous State with over 100 million residents. It is India’s poorest states when measured by GDP-per-person, despite its capital city of Patma being among the nation’s most affluent cities.

The project is expected to cost US$1.36bn and is being sold as a way to bring health, education and legal services to villages at a level comparable to those delivered in larger cities and towns.

Each of the villages will receive at least five fibre-to-the-premises connections to government offices, schools, childcare centres or facilities used by frontline health workers. Each village will also get at least one free WiFi access point. Connections will be free for the first year.

India has a national plan to wire 600,000 villages by 2023, but the government acknowledged that this rollout is a sprint.

It’s also tied the project to India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan self-reliance mission, by saying that once wired villages will be able to more fully participate in that effort. Whether Indian companies are providing any of the fibre, WiFi access points or networking kit required to wire the villages was not disclosed. However India is not a noted source of such kit – The Register suspects this piece of the self-reliance push will require a few imports. ®

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