February 2020


As A Public - Private Partnership, BSNL Plans To Provide Rural Broadband Via Wi-Fi

In a new initiative, BSNL plans to provide broadband connectivity in rural areas, using low cost public Wi-Fi.

The service will be marketed as its 'Bharat AirFiber' service.

BSNL said it expects to gain at least 1 lakh new broadband customers during the next fiscal in rural areas under its new Bharat Airfibre service.

The connections will be sold through a partner registered with it and the broadband service will be provided using the free wi-fi band.

"We expect to have at least 1 lakh Bharat Airfibre connections in fiscal year 2021. BSNL will provide bandwidth to partners and the partners will sell it further to people in rural areas," BSNL Director (CFA) Vivek Banzal said while launching the service.


Wi-Fi using the free Wi Fi bands is inexpensive to deploy, and can quickly cover wide territories.

Unlike urban areas, rural areas have minimal noise and interference generated from urban appliances like hair dryers, in-house Wi-Fi routers, etc. This makes large area Wi-Fi networks feasible in rural areas.


Cash-strapped BSNL will partner with private sector entrepreneurs, which could be local cable operators.

"Partners have to invest setting up the service. The investment starts in the price range of ₹ 45,000-50,000 and the customer premise equipment that will be installed at subscriber end will cost around ₹ 3,000. We expect to have at least 3,000 partners to come on board in three months," Banzal said.

BSNL's Partners Could Be Rural Cable Operators

Customer verification and quality of service issues will be handled by BSNL.


The monthly subscriptions for BSNL Airfibre connections will start from ₹ 500 per month. Customers will also get WiFi calling with the same connection, Banzal said.


Bharat AirFibre services were launched in the South Zone on 22nd January in Veenavanka village, Karimnagar District, Telangana, providing live-video Conferencing with the villagers.


YuppTV, a leading South-Asian OTT platform, is working with BSNL to include its service to rural Indians.

Last year, YuppTV and BSNL had signed a memorandum of understanding to offer bundled content to the subscribers of the telecom operator. Subsequently, BSNL has already started triple-play services in tandem with YuppTV, giving voice, data and TV services in select circles.

Commenting on the latest roll-out, YuppTV Founder & CEO Uday Reddy said, "In tandem with BSNL, we have taken up a highly aspirational project, one that will play a significant role in the next phase of digitisation in India. While BSNL has enabled access to high-speed internet in rural India, at YuppTV, we have taken up the task of offering the most diversified content to our key users that entertains and educates. We are excited about the nationwide rollout commencing with the South Zone and look forward to an affirmative response." n