The Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Ladakh, RK Mathur, has emphasized connectivity based on Optical Fiber Cables (OFC) for all hamlets in the Union Territory. He assured the service providers of all necessary support from his administration to provide mobile towers and digital connectivity across Ladakh.
Mathur was speaking at a meeting chaired by him in Delhi to discuss telecommunications issues and concerns in Ladakh, an official spokesman said on Saturday.
LG reviewed the progress of the National Fiber Optic Network (NOFN) program to connect all 193 gram panchayats through fiber as gram panchayats are currently on VSAT based systems.
He also raised the issue of the low bandwidth of the VSATs installed by the BharatNet project which prevents the public and students from getting the most out of this facility and the need for prompt repair, the spokesperson said.
Mathur highlighted OFC-based connectivity under the BharatNet project and discussed the way forward with BSNL, BBNL and USOF in this regard.
He said the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) shared that Ladakh could be considered to link the villages based on the PPP (public-private partnership) model and works could be awarded in this exercise, while Jio officials have informed that all their cell towers on VSAT are being upgraded to OFC-based connectivity, thus upgrading those to the 4G platform.
Mathur stressed the need for BSNL to establish redundancy in their fiber optic network to improve the reliability of their connection, the spokesperson said, adding that BSNL officials informed the meeting that the laying works OFC on the Drass-to-Kargil route are currently underway. .
LG has also reviewed a proposal for a comprehensive telecom coverage plan for Ladakh.
He provided an update on the provision of mobile services in remote and difficult uncovered areas, as well as areas along national highways and tourist routes in Ladakh under the USOF. He appreciated the work done by Jio to connect the difficult areas of Ladakh under USOF, especially in Demchok.
Mathur reviewed the status of installation of VSATs at various Digital Satellite Telephony Terminal (DSPT) sites and the status of VSATs installed under NOFN in Leh and Kargil.
He discussed upgrading BSNL 2G mobile towers to 4G to improve internet connectivity in the union territory.
The USOF said upgrading 2G to 4G connectivity from BSNL, Jio and Airtel would be considered in the existing tender.
Airtel representatives shared updates on the installation of mobile towers in border areas and the issues they are facing, the spokesperson said.
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