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BSNL to spend Rs 20,000 cr on villages for expansion

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New Delhi, Mar 13: Communications and IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran today (Mar 13, 2006) informed that state-owned telecom comapny, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has invested Rs 20,000 crore in its network expansion and said 50 per cent of it will be in the low tele-density rural areas.

BSNL is going in for 60 million line expansion and half of it will be in rural areas, Mr Maran said during the Question Hour in the Upper House.

Answering a question from V Narayanasamy, Cong, Mr Maran said since landline has become more expensive from operators and users point of view, efforts are being made to give value added service with fixed line like broadband. This will ensure a decrease in the surrender rate of fixed phones, he said.

To another question from TDP member Ravula Chandra Sekar Reddy, on rural connectivity, Mr Maran said 5,28,000 villages out of a total of six lakh villages have been covered and rest of them will be reached soon.

Mr Maran said the government has set a target of 250 million phones, including 200 million mobile connections in the country by 2007.

Congress member Moolchand Meena complained that mobile companies are cheating customers with their latest offering of lifetime and one-time payments. Mr Maran said the whole issue is with the telecom regulator TRAI and a reply is expected soon.

UNI

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