State broadband infrastructure provider Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) is set to invite bids to supply the telco with GPON equipment, the Economic Times writes citing two people familiar with the matter. The company, created to facilitate the government’s plan to construct its National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), will invite bids in early August with a view to awarding contracts to around five vendors. According to the sources, BBNL will ‘strictly’ adhere to India’s preferential market access policy regarding the purchase of security-sensitive equipment. As such, it will need 75% of its requirements to be met by domestic suppliers, with the remaining 25% open to foreign vendors for the first year, although from the second year onwards 100% of the telco’s equipment must be sourced locally.
Domestic vendors Tejas Networks, ITI, VMC Systems, Bharat Electronics, Sai Infosystems, United Telecoms, Himachal Futuristic Communications as well as the Indian units of a number of foreign suppliers – such as Huawei and ZTE of China and Sweden’s Ericsson – reportedly participated in a pre-bid conference called by BBNL.