BSNL goes all out to connect rural India

In a bid to lay a cellular network covering the entire population in the country, the state-owned company is leaving no stone unturned.

It is using even helicopters to fly down mobile equipment in areas where the road network is yet to reach. And if that’s not enough, BSNL has hired a fleet of trucks that ferry diesel every day to power the huge generators that run the mobile base stations, in areas where there is no electricity.

The company had recently floated a tender to acquire cellular equipment for rolling out 63 million lines, of which more than 50% is being deployed in rural India. BSNL is laying a full network in the North East too where the tough hilly terrain makes it hard for installing the equipment required to offer mobile services.

“By the end of this project, 100 per cent of habitable India will be covered. It is a challenging task but full of opportunity considering that India’s mobile penetration is only 8.5 per cent. There is a huge pent up demand,” said Mr Sinha.

The Business Line article says that BSNL has the highest ARPU, more than that of any private operator despite concentrating more on the semi-urban and rural areas.

BSNL has 16.1 million cellular users and is hoping to get 20 million users a year, most of which is expected to come from non-urban areas.

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