— The dates for the auctioneer selection process, for the agency that is going to handle the e-auction for 3G and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA Spectrup) have been revised. Details here (pdf). Hope this doesn’t delay the 3G auction.
— BSNL has brought within the “reach of broadband”, 30,500 villages, and installed Village Public Telephones in 54635 villages, using money from the USO (Universal Services Obligation) Fund that mobile consumers had been contributing to. 5000 villages are being provided telephony using satellite technology – Digital Satellite Phone Terminals, and some via the mobile network. Bear in mind that villages have been brought under the “reach of broadband”, and not necessarily been provided broadband services. The Common Services Centers (CSCs) which we’ve covered before is dependent on BSNL rolling out broadband services. Do recall that Aruna Sundararajan, CEO of the CSC project had announced that BSNL plans to provide broadband to 30,000 CSCs by June.
— Rural expansion: The government is preparing to launch the second phase of its rural mobile expansion, covering villages with a population of 500; around 2 lakh villages in all. Around 11000 towers will be installed in a year and a half. In Phase 1, BSNL has set up 102 of the 6175 towers it had bid for (using the USO Fund), GTL Infrastructure has set up 371 of 421, Hutchison Essar has set up 242 of 752, National Information Technologies has set up 16 of 384, Quipo Telecom has set up 84 of 88, while Reliance Communications has set up 245 of 472…no prizes for guessing who the laggards are.