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BSNL to install wi-fi access in tourist locales

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam is planning to implement ventures worth Rs 6,000 crore this year. These include WiFi rollout in key tourism hotspots, extending mobile coverage in Maoist-affected areas and revamping communications infrastructure in the strategic Andaman & Nicobar islands, officials in the organisation said.

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DQC Bureau
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State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam is planning to implement ventures worth Rs 6,000 crore this year. These include WiFi rollout in key tourism hotspots, extending mobile coverage in Maoist-affected areas and revamping communications infrastructure in the strategic Andaman & Nicobar islands, officials in the organisation said.

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The struggling telecom operator will launch WiFi hotspots in prominent locations such as Agra, Varanasi, Hyderabad and Fatehpur Sikri, and shortly finalise the second wave of WiFi rollout zones, a top official said. "BSNL will shortly float tenders to extend mobile connectivity to all uncovered regions of Arunachal and Assam," said another senior official in the department of telecom (DoT). This project will entail an investment of nearly Rs 2,000 crore, he added.

The bulk of these projects will be funded by the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF), a DoT arm that subsidises rural network infrastructure rollouts. BSNL is also revamping the existing satellite gateway in Andaman & Nicobar archipelago and overseeing the rollout of mobile towers there.

Lately, the company has speeded up the process of wrapping up mobile network rollouts in the nine states prone to Left-wing extremism by December. The rollouts are being monitored by both DoT and the home ministry as the exercise is aimed at sprucing up communications and surveillance operations by national security agencies in these regions.

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