144 J&K, Ladakh border villages among 354 being provided mobile connectivity

Satellite DSPTs for 1347 Army, BSF, CRPF, ITBP sites

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Aug 10: The Union Government has decided to provide mobile phone connectivity to 354 border and remote villages of strategic importance, including 144 in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, bordering China and Pakistan shortly.
Union Minister of Electronics & IT, Communications and Law & Justice, Ravi Shanker Prasad while speaking to the media-persons after inauguration of a submarine Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) of length of 2300 kms between Chennai and Andaman Nicobar at the cost of Rs 1224 crores by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that Government of India has been taking measures on priority to provide connectivity in the far flung, difficult, border areas of strategic importance, so as to ensure better quality of life to the people as well as to those who are working in these areas.
While giving details about various projects being implemented by Department of Telecommunications Prasad revealed about various projects being implemented by the Department of Telecommunications to provide connectivity in remote and difficult areas.
Prasad disclosed that a tender worth Rs 337 crore for 354 uncovered villages in the strategic, remote and border areas of the country has been finalised and is under implementation in 144 villages of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and remaining border villages in the States of Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and other priority areas of Gujarat.
“These villages bordering China and Pakistan have been strategically chosen to cover border area connectivity on mobile. After commissioning of these villages, there will be no uncovered villages in UTs of J&K, Ladakh for mobile connectivity,” the Minister said.
“Satellite based DSPTs (Digital Satellite Phone Terminal) are also being provided at 1347 sites for Army, BRO, BSF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB etc. Out of these, 183 sites are already commissioned and remaining are in process,” Prasad said.
The Union Minister further informed that Department of Telecommunications is also working on providing mobile connectivity in villages of 24 Aspirational districts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and remaining 44 Aspirational districts for 7287 uncovered villages in Chhatisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh will also be covered for which Government approval is under submission.
According to Telecom Ministry data presented in Parliament in February this year, there were around 27,721 villages (as per census 2011 data) which were not covered by mobile services.
The Minister further said the Chennai – Andaman and Nicobar Islands (CANI) Optical Fibre link launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today will increase innovation and establish more startups in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
“Earlier we were supplying the internet using satellite bandwidth at 4 gigabit per second (Gbps) speed. After the start of the link between Chennai and Port Blair, speed will be 400 Gbps and other islands will get 200 Gbps. This will encourage innovation there, increase startups,” Prasad maintained.