All villages to have telephone by FY10

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New Delhi, Aug 26 (UNI) All villages in India will have public telephones by 2009-10, the government said here today.

Having provided 54,700 of the 66,822 uncovered villages with public telephones under Bharat Nirman Programme, Communications Ministry said it has decided to launch another scheme to provide similar facility in 50,000 new villages, identified in Census 2001.

These include villages with less than 100 population.

It said Department of Telecom is preparing to sign agreements with state-owned telecom giant BSNL to achieve the objective by subsidising the project from DoT's Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund.

Public telephony in all villages is expected to be completed by the end of the next year, the Ministry said in a statement.

The Ministry said about 5,000 remotely located villages are also being provided with high-end Digital Satellite Phone Terminals (DSPTs).

BSNL has already provided telephones to five and half lakh villages across the country. The telecom giant has also provided broadband facility to 30,500 villages, the statement added.

UNI SAA SG HT1524

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