In a landmark decision, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a project for installation of 4G mobile services in all uncovered villages of the country.
Speaking to reporters, Union Minister of Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw said the project will entail a cost of Rs 26,316 crore.
"The Union Cabinet has approved project for saturation of 4G mobile services in all uncovered villages of the country through Universal Service Obligation Fund, at an estimated cost of Rs 26,316 crore," Vaishnaw said.
The project will provide 4G mobile services in 24,680 uncovered villages in remote and difficult areas.
It has a provision to include 20 per cent additional villages on account of rehabilitation, new settlements, withdrawal of services by existing operators etc. In addition, 6,279 villages having only 2G/3G connectivity shall be upgraded to 4G.
The digital inclusion and connectivity for all is an integral part of 'antyodaya' vision of the government.
Last year, the Centre had approved a project for providing 4G mobile services in 7,287 uncovered villages in 44 aspirational districts across five states.
According to an official release, the project will be executed by BSNL using Atmanirbhar Bharat's 4G technology stack and will be funded through Universal Service Obligation Fund.
The project cost of Rs 26,316 crore includes capex and 5-year opex.
BSNL is already in process of deployment of the Atmanirbhar 4G technology stack, which will be deployed in this project as well.
The release said that the project is a significant step towards the vision of the government to provide mobile connectivity in rural areas.
"This project will promote the delivery of various e-governance services, banking services, tele-medicine, tele-education etc. through mobile broadband and generate employment in rural areas," the release said.
(With Inputs from ANI)