State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) said on Thursday it had begun work on a Rs 2,000-crore tender to link remote villages by wireless broadband Internet services through the Wi-Max technology.
“We will float a request for proposal (RFP) to provide broadband services in 25,000 villages within a week. The tender will be valued around Rs 2,000 crore,” Kuldeep Goyal, BSNL’s chairman and managing director, told reporters.
After a month of floating the RFP to provide services in rural areas, BSNL will also launch a tender to provide Wi-Max-enabled broadband in cities. Wi-Max broadband services can pump wireless data at high speeds over distances of up to 30 miles (48 km), and is expected to help India meet its goal of having 20 million broadband subscribers by 2010.
"A normal Wi-Max tower and a decent quality subscriber station should be able to bridge connectivity gaps," said Sridhar Pai, founder and CEO of Tonse Telecom. "Using Wi-Max, you should pretty much be able to network the country."
To describe the potential impact of Wi-Max on India, Pai used an example of a farmer in a rural town who is not aware that he produces the biggest onion crop in the country.
"He has to go through some outdated middleman who is really ripping him off. But when WiMax comes in, he would have instant connectivity and know what prices are real."