Indian Government will shortly launch a scheme to provide public telephone facility to another 50,000 newly identified villages. With this, all the villages in the country would be covered by public telephone service. The Department of Telecom is likely to sign agreements soon with the State owned telecom provider BSNL for this purpose. These 50000 villages include new villages appearing in Census 2001, villages with population less than 100 and those left out earlier because of various reasons.
Village Public Telephones (VPTs) will come up in such uncovered villages with subsidy support from DOT’s Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund. Installation of public telephones in all villages is expected to be completed by the end of the next year.
The government is already implementing a scheme to provide subsidised public telephone facility to 66822 uncovered villages under the Bharat Nirman programme. Out of these, 54700 villages have already been covered and the remaining are likely to be covered by the end of the current year. All villages have been brought under the scheme except those having population of less than 100, those lying in deep forests and those affected with insurgency. About 5000 remotely located villages are being provided with VPT using satellite technology i.e. Digital Satellite Phone Terminals (DSPTs). Maximum numbers of villages covered so far under the scheme are from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The State owned BSNL has provided telephones to five and half lakh villages across the country. The telecom giant has also brought 30,500 villages under the reach of Broadband.