State-owned telco BSNL said that it is outsourcing a Rs 1,000 crore WiFi deployment contract to a consortium of companies led by Larsen & Toubro, according to this ET report. The consortium will work on installing more than 35,000 WiFi hotspots in the country by March 2018. The report added that the contract was given to the companies based on a tendering process.

Apart from L&T, companies including UTStarcom, Elitecore, and Cisco will work together in the project. Cisco will carry out the installation of access points, while Elite core will work on deploying an analytics and an advertisement platform. BSNL’s Chairman Anupam Shrivastava told ET that the company has already deployed 4,500 hotspots in the country and that the companies are expected to start equipment installation by end of this month.

Other BSNL WiFi projects

In India, BSNL has been installing its own WiFi in various locations, including at tourist destinations, and more hotspots in 40,000 locations around the country to make up for the lack of its own 4G services. It recently deployed 3000 WiFi hotspots in Assam, and in October last year, it had signed a deal with the Union Tourism Ministry to equip 100 tourist destinations with high-speed public hotspots. In the same month, the telco said that it would install WiFi at 10,000 government owned schools in Kerala. Apart from this BSNL tied up with Tata Communications to allow BSNL users traveling abroad to connect with over 44 million WiFi hotspots around the world, managed by Tata.

Note that BSNL is also part of BharatNet, a government-owned fiberline project that aims to connect 1 lakh gram panchayats by 2018. The state-owned telco also provides broadband at subsidized rates in rural areas using BharatNet infrastructure.

Also Read: MeitY’s project Digital Village to provide WiFi hotspots in villages

Financials

BSNL posted losses of Rs 1,721 crore fir the first half of 2016 (up till 30th June 2016), while posting overall revenues of Rs 7,331 crore during the same period.  In the previous financial year (FY 2015-16), it posted a net loss of Rs 3,880 core, and overall revenues of Rs 32,919 crore, which was up 14% year-on-year.

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Image Credits: WiKi user Robo56 under CC BY-SA 3.0