BSNL to enlist VNL, HFCL for rollout in unserved areas of North Eastern Region

26 Apr 2017

State-owned telecom provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has selected Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL) and Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited (HFCL) to deploy 2,817 new mobile towers in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam following a competitive tender. The Economic Times writes that the project is expected to cost INR14.6 billion (USD226.6 million) and will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). The project will see VNL deploy 1,893 sites in Arunachal Pradesh, whilst the remaining 924 towers will be built by HFCL in two districts of Assam. BSNL Chairman Anupam Shrivastava added that the construction is due to be completed by December 2018, but the timeline will depend on how long the USOF takes to greenlight the programme. The rollout forms part of the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for the North-Eastern Region, which was approved in September 2014 and entails the deployment of a total of 6,673 towers with the aim of providing 2G services to 8,621 unserved villages as well as seamless mobile coverage along highways in the region.