25 August : Government has provided Village Public Telephones (VPTs) in about 54700 uncovered villages under Bharat Nirman Programme through subsidy support from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). With this, the State owned BSNL has provided telephones to five and half lakh villages across the country. The telecom giant has also brought 30,500 villages under the reach of Broadband.
The target under Bharat Nirman is to provide subsidised public telephone facility to 66822 uncovered villages. Remaining VPTs are likely to be provided by the end of the current year. The scheme covers all villages except those having population of less than 100, those lying in deep forests and those affected with insurgency. It is being carried out under agreements signed by DOT with BSNL in November 2004. Provision of VPTs is included as one of activities under the Centre’s Bharat Nirman Programme.
About 5000 remotely located villages are being provided with VPT using satellite technology- Digital Satellite Phone Terminals (DSPTs). Some of the VPTs, which were initially proposed to be provided on DSPTs, are being delivered through the wireless coverage now available in these villages on account of network expansion.