The central government is expecting to provide broadband services to one lakh gram panchayats by end of this year, Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said here on Friday.The government has planned the BharatNet project to provide 100 Mbps broadband connectivity to approximately 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country."Under first phase of the project, one lakh gram panchayats are to be connected by laying underground Optical Fibre Cable which is under implementation. Till date, broadband connectivity has been provided to about 33,000 GPs and we expect the connectivity to be provided to one lakh GPs by end of this year," Sinha said at the launch of SpeedPay e-wallet services here.Optical fibre cable has been laid in the more than one lakh GPs, he added .
Punjab National Bank and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd tied up to roll out the wallet services across 10 states in the country.Under the agreement, BSNL will expand SpeedPay services in Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand."The reach of the service under this partnership will increase to northern and eastern states," said BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava.