Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio have approached Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) for extra optical fibre in order to reduce their capital expenditure.

The telcos had expressed their interest in utilising a part of the dark fibre laid out by BBNL while working on the BharatNet project.

With this, telcos aim to expand their presence in rural India and offer 4G as well as other long-term evolution (LTE) mobile telephony services.

To this end, telcos have so far deposited an advance of Rs 178.6 million for utilisation of BharatNet services. Of this, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have deposited an advance of Rs 45 million and Rs 1.6 million, respectively.  While, Reliance Jio has submitted nearly Rs 132 million to BBNL.

Bharti Airtel provided a list of 3,096 gram panchayats (GPs) out of which feasibility of 2,292 GPs was provided to the operator. Further, Reliance Jio has submitted a list of 35,561 GPs to BBNL requesting for bandwidth/dark fibre feasibility. Out of 35,561 GPs, the feasibility at 28,341 GPs was provided to them.

Vodafone India has requested feasibility for dark fibre in 204 GPs in Haryana. Out of 204 GPs, the feasibility of 204 GPs was given and advice note for provisioning of extra fibre at 22 GPs for the company was issued. The service at 8 GPs has been done in Haryana. Additionally, telco had also applied for bandwidth at one GP in Gujarat and bandwidth 660 Mbps service has been provisioned.