[economic times] In June, the telecom department will invite bids from mobile phone companies, fixed-line operators and ISPs to kick off its countrywide wireless broadband push aimed at bridging the digital divide. However, the telecom department has decided to put up only one slot for bidding in each of the 22 circles. This means, only one private telecom player will be allowed to roll out a wireless broadband network in each telecom zone. The second slot has been reserved for state-owned BSNL. The project will be subsidised by the Universal Service Obligation Fund, or USOF.
"BSNL will be asked to match the L1 price quoted by the successful private sector bidder in each circle after we conclude the tendering exercise that is likely to start next month. The objective is to expand pan-India wireless broadband coverage by leveraging the existing passive infrastructure created for mobile telephony in rural and remote locations," said a senior official in the telecom department. "If no private telco bids in a particular circle, BSNL will be asked to go it alone there," added an official in the telecom department.
DoT to invite bids for National Wireless Broadband in June