Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) and Common Service Centre (CSC) are reportedly at loggerheads following the large-scale shift in last-mile equipment made by CSC for utilisation of BharatNet network without any prior intimidation to BBNL.
To this end, BBNL has written to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) on May 2, 2020 highlighting that CSC special purpose vehicle (SPV) violated the clause 2.8.2 of tripartite agreement and shifted equipment in multiple states without any disclosure of shifted location and the new custodian. Further, BBNL added that CSC or Digital Seva Kendra’s demand for the unconditional universal permission to shift the equipment to village-level entrepreneurs (VLE) premises in every village block could not be agreed upon.
BBNL further argued that in case of unchecked shifting, even with best intentions, CSC would not be able to comply with handing out infrastructure to the fund administrator in a working condition that might be transferred to a private service provider in future.
BBNL stated that it has to provide non-discriminatory access to all the telecom service providers (TSPs)/ internet service provider (ISPs). Shifting the equipment to VLE premises will be a hindrance in the achievement of the same and added that CSC should come up with a clear standard operating procedure (SOP) for the same.
In July 2019, CSC, BBNL and USOF had entered into a tripartite agreement to fast track deployment of Wi-Fi access points in 103,241 village blocks under BharatNet Phase I.