While the government claimed that the agreement will augment high-speed internet connectivity, it will be a while before the bandwidth is actually delivered to users. The Universal Service Obligation Fund on August 18 signed a deal with state-owned telecom operator BSNL. USOF is the Indian government's fund for boosting telecom connectivity in areas that are unfeasible for telecom operators to run a business from. Under the agreement, USOF will help BSNL buy bandwidth from the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), which is owned by the government of Bangladesh. BSCCL runs international internet gateways at Cox's Bazar and Kuakata which are connected by SeaMeWe4, the cable system that BSNL is likely to tap into following this agreement. The Indian side is connected to the data via Agartala in Tripura. 10Gbps of bandwidth will be hired by BSNL for three years under this agreement. India's undersea and transnational cable connectivity has been growing, but these cables are a small part of the entire equation. A large cable is easy to build compared to a network of base stations connected to each other with optic fibres over busy cityscapes and forest land. Building such networks takes time, and while the USOF–BSNL agreement is a step towards freeing up bandwidth available in the area, much remains to be done to actually deliver that bandwidth to users. Recent USOF disbursals December 2020: USOF funds of over Rs 2,000 crore were earmarked for improving mobile connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam over a period…
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