- Published: 08 July 2018 08 July 2018
625,000 villages are being connected with fiber by the remarkable Bharatnet, on track to complete in 2019. One to five Wi-Fi hotspots in each area (GP) will offer services including banking and e-gov for eight cents (U.S.) per day to $1.50/month. These "Common services centres" will often be run by "Village level entrepreneurs," perhaps as many as 100,000.
This is the largest Internet access program on earth, originally conceived by Sam Pitroda in the government of Dr. Mammohan Singh. It is a credit to the government building it.* Telcos are also connecting; Bharti has 30,000 cells planned. Reliance Jio, now with 4G to 96% of Indians, will raise that to 99%. Jio has better coverage than most of the major Europeans, all state of the art 4G LTE.
The big four telcos now are demanding a delay and a huge increase in costs. "Establishing public WiFi networks without licence will be illegal being in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885."