New Delhi,17 Apr:(RAJYA SABHA) In order to give more attention to telecom services in rural areas, Government has undertaken the following schemes:-(i) Provision of Village Public Telephones (VPTs) in 66,822 uncovered villages under Bharat Nirman through subsidy support from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). Out of these, 53,073 VPTs have been provided so far.(ii) Scheme for setting up of 7871 Sharable Infrastructure Sites in 500 districts for provision of mobile services in rural and remote areas through subsidy support from USOF (Phase-I) has been launched in June, 2007.(iii) Second Phase of the Mobile Infrastructure Scheme for setting up 11,049 additional tower to cover the remaining uncovered rural and remote areas of the country is likely to be launched shortly.(iv) For creation of general infrastructure for development of telephone facilities, Government has proposed to improve the OFC network between the Block Headquarters and District Headquarters.
(v) Subsidy support through USOF for Rural Direct Exchange Lines (RDELs).
An amount of Rs. 2000 crore is likely to be spent for this purpose during the current financial year 2008-09 as compared to Rs. 1290 crore spent during the financial year 2007-08.