BBNL invites tender for BharatNet project under PPP model

NEW DELHI: Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), on behalf of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has invited global tender for the development including creation, upgradation, operation and maintenance, and utilization of BharatNet through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model in nine separate packages across 16 states for a concession period of 30 years.
This comes after the Cabinet, chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved a viability gap funding of Rs 19,041 crore for the implementation of BharatNet project through PPP model.
As per an official statement, the project will be executed through a Design, Build, Finance, Operate & Transfer (DBFOT) concession under the PPP framework.
The rationale for this is to leverage the private sector’s “capability, capacity, and efficiency for O&M, utilization, and revenue generation” with an aim to make BharatNet more effective and accessible.
This would also serve the objective of BharatNet to have greater social inclusion through the delivery of government schemes and customer-centric services using broadband.
The statement added that the bidding process will comprise a single-stage, two-part bidding (‘Qualification bid’ and ‘Financial bid’) for the selection of bidder for undertaking the project, and the bids for each package will need to be submitted separately.
“Once awarded, the selected Bidder shall create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), sign the agreement, achieve Financial Closure and undertake creation, upgradation, operation & maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet across the concession period,” it said.
The flagship government project which has an objective of empowering 1.3 billion Indians with affordable Internet access and delivery of digital services will cover an estimated 3.61 lakh villages, including Gram Panchayats (GPs) across 16 states such as Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh.
Former union minister of telecom and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad during a Cabinet meeting had said the total expenditure to cover 3,60,000 villages in 16 states will be Rs 19,430 crore, including the amount for viability gap funding.
The Central government recently expanded its scope to connect all the inhabited villages of the country, or about 6.43 lakh villages, including GPs.
The existing BharatNet network across these 16 states will become part of this project.


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