India’s Telecom Commission (TC), the apex decision-making arm of the Ministry of Communications (MoC), has reportedly approved a request made by state-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) for additional funds for the alternative network it is rolling out for the armed forces. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the construction of the fibre infrastructure for the armed forces was a critical part of paving the way for the long-delayed auction of 3G spectrum, which was finally concluded in May 2010. Having previously utilised a portion of the 3G frequencies, a deal with the government saw the armed forces vacate the frequencies at the end of August 2010, allowing for the allocation of spectrum to those cellcos that won 3G concessions three months earlier.
Back in December 2010 it was reported that BSNL was preparing to request a 50% increase in funding for the project, and in this latest development it is understood that the TC has given the nod for an extra INR55.03 billion (USD1.1 billion) to be spent on the fibre rollout. According to India’s Economic Times, the extra funding comes on top of the INR80.98 billion that has already been set aside for the network construction.