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Govt eyes for partial sale of Bharatnet network, tower infra

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Niti Aayog has valued over 2.86 lakh kilometre of optical fibre assets laid by BBNL and BSNL under rural broadband project Bharatnet at Rs 26,300 crore, according to the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) document.

 

The government expects to realise Rs 35,100 crore from the partial sale of Bharatnet fibre assets and around 13,500 mobile towers owned by state-run telecom firms as part of its national monetisation pipeline released on Monday.

 

As per the report, BSNL’s 13,567 mobile tower assets and MTNL’s 1,350 towers have been valued at Rs 8,800 crore. Both the PSUs jointly own 69,047 mobile towers.

 

“Indicative monetisation value of Rs 26,300 crores has been considered over FY23 and FY 24. It may be noted that the actual private investment towards these packages could be lower than the estimated capex and a portion of capex may be met out of grant,” the NMP document said.

 

The total approved cost for Bharatnet project is Rs 61,109 crore which includes Rs 42,068 crore for BharatNet (Phase-I and Phase-II) and a maximum of Rs 19,041 crore on viability gap funding (VGF) for implementation of the PPP model of BharatNet in 16 states, according to government information shared in Parliament.

 

As on March 31, 2021, the government has utilised Rs 24,201 crore for the project.

 

However, the bidding process for this project (Bharatnet) is expected to be initiated during FY’22 and the actual outlay of capex will happen over 2 years from the date of award.

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