Govt, Jio outline plans to invest in NER and West Bengal

17 Jan 2018

The Indian government has announced plans to invest INR107.43 billion (USD1.68 billion) on expanding and improving telecoms networks in the North Eastern Region (NER), the Economic Times writes, citing Union Minister of State for Telecommunications Jayant Sinha. The projects involved include a programme to provide satellite-based broadband services to 4,240 gram panchayats by December 2018 at an estimated cost of INR7.33 billion. Another is expected to cost around IN53.36 billion and will see 6,673 new mobile towers installed to provide coverage to 8,621 villages and along major transport routes.

In a related development, meanwhile, Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) is planning to expand the footprint of its LTE network in West Bengal to cover 100% of the state’s population by the end of December 2018. Business Today quotes Jio chairman Mukesh Ambani as saying that the company is also ‘embarking on an ambitious project of connecting Bengal with optical fibre’. At present, the company covers 39,000 villages and 1,000 towns in the state. In addition to the mobile network rollout, parent company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has also committed to invest INR50 billion in its other businesses (i.e. non-Jio operations) in the state over the next three years.