Out of 5,97,618 inhabited villages in the country, 25,067 villages lack mobile connectivity and Internet, according to the Ministry of Communications reply in the Lok Sabha based on Telecom Service Providers (TSP) data.
According to official data, this makes up only about four per cent of villages that lack mobile connection services.
The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) scheme was launched in 2002 to provide mobile connectivity in uncovered villages and make non-discriminatory access to ICT services affordable to people in remote areas. About 43 per cent or 11,000 villages included in USOF remain without Internet connectivity.
Further, out of all government WiFi hotspots installed in the country, only 51 per cent of them provide service.
There are about 1,04,259 gram panchayats that have WiFi Hotspots installed under BharatNet Project till January 2022. Out of which only 53,913 panchayats have functioning WiFi Hotspots providing services. The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) was launched in October 2011 was renamed as Bharat Net Project in 2015, and is funded by USOF with a target to install WiFi hotspots in all gram panchayats of the country.
Odisha has 6,099 villages, highest in the country, without mobile connectivity. Arunachal Pradesh has 2,223 villages, Madhya Pradesh has 2,612, and Maharashtra has 2,328. Andhra Pradesh has 1,787 villages without Internet and Jharkhand has 1,144 such villages.
Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Haryana are some of the few states which have achieved the highest penetration of mobile services in their villages.
In terms of the states with gram panchayats that despite having WiFi hotspot installed, do not provide connectivity is Andhra Pradesh which has 70 per cent of dysfunctional government hotspots.
Jharkhand and Maharashtra have over 70 per cent of non-working government installed hotspots. In Manipur, out of the 161 WiFi installed, only seven have connectivity.
In Telangana, with 1,995 hotspots, only 355 connect to the Internet.
Copyright©2022 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today