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Bharat Sanchar, HCL tie-up for rural broadband services

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 (20:24:27) Tags: business, telecom, BSNL, HCL Info systems, NBPP New Delhi: State-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and software solutions provider HCL Info systems today signed an agreement to work together on the National Broadband Penetration Programme (NBPP), a nationwide initiative to accelerate spread of information technology in rural India. In order to implement the project, BSNL will leverage the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) set up by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which has granted subsidy to the state-owned company for providing broadband services in rural areas at cheaper rates. USOF will provide a subsidy of Rs.4, 500 per broadband connection that BSNL will roll out through its 27,789 rural and remote telephone exchanges. A customer can avail the service by paying Rs.2, 250 followed by Rs.300 per month for the computing device and subsidized broadband package at Rs.99 or Rs.150 per month. Personal computers will be available at HCL's Touch outlets that have a network across more than 4,000 towns. "This is indeed one of the major initiatives to bridge the digital divide by offering personal computers plus broadband at subsidized rates to our customers," said BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goyal. HCL will set up two call centers for enquiry and technical support each.(IANS)