Hyderabad: The dream of ‘Digital Telangana’ seems to be some distance from being realised as work for the T-Fibre project is proceeding slowly. The government is set to miss the target to provide internet connectivity to 50 per cent of villages by end of March.
Under the Telangana Fibre Grid project, 8,778 gram panchayats will be provided internet connectivity. Tenders could not be finalised and hence the delay.
According to a senior official, the tender process did not go as the government anticipated because companies quoted very high prices, and another tender was floated. This has led to a slippage of two-three months in the schedule of T-fibre. The government is now targeting September 2019 for providing internet connectivity to 50 per cent of the gram panchayats. By March 2020, all the gram panchayats will have internet connectivity.
An official said, “Under T-fibre, we have not started connecting the gram panchayats yet. We just completed the tendering process and are giving the work order. Even though we lost some time, we are confident of seeing substantial progress in 2019.”
It may be recalled that the Telangana Fibre Grid project was envisioned to provide infrastructure for affordable and high speed broadband connectivity and digital services to 83.58 lakh households and more than two crore people.
Exactly a year ago, in February 2018, the pilot T-FIBRE Technology Demonstration Network (TDN) was launched with 55 locations in four villages in Maheshwaram mandal to demonstrate the capabilities of T-Fibre. The villages under Maheshwaram mandal are Mansapally, Thummaloor, Sirigiripuram and Maheshwaram. They are connected to Pragati Bhavan, Raj Bhavan, Secretariat and the T-Fibre Begumpet office in Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, 2,047 gram panchayats in Telangana are ‘service ready’ and according to the data tabled in parliament, `254.17 crore was given to the state to implement this project.
These gram panchayats are in the erstwhile Nizamabad, Khammam, and Ranga Reddy districts. An official said, these 2,047 gram panchayats are not part of the T-Fibre project but were part of the project that preceded it. So the ground work for T-Fibre is yet to be rolled out.
As on February 2019, across India, 3,11,191 km of underground optical fibre cable has been laid and 1,23,766 gram panchayats have been connected. Of these, 1,16,961 gram panchayats have been made service ready. BharatNet, earlier known as National Optical Fibre Network Project, is being implemented in a phased manner to provide broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country.