The GOI is providing free access to a catalog of almost 4000 movies and entertainment content under the BharatNet program for rural areas. This is to ensure that more Indians should have access to digital tools.
The government provides a free catalog of over 4000 movies to the people through the common service centers(CSC), and the government officially announced that entertainment and films are to be the new concepts where people can get the internet services for the first time by paying some amount.
The CSCs gave responsibilities of providing the last-mile internet connectivity under the BharatNet program. The CSCs are submitting an offer to access the internet and also prepaid coupons wifi or through DTH at their homes. They don’t charge any amount for either the films or the internet coupons, including the entertainment content in the starting stage of the mission.
Co-founder and CEO of SugarBox Networks, Rohit Paranjpe, said that installing the service in remote areas will help in optimizing the bandwidth of broadband services. These will further help in improving the overall experience of the users. After the six-month free trial period, SugarBox is planning to go for several pricing models viz. movie streaming pack for Rs. 5 a day.
Paranjpe added, “The company is working on to launch more services such as e-learning, e-commerce, and gaming among other services through its platform.“
The official also said that this program would help those people who are living in far-flung areas where broadband services from private companies have not reached. Even 4G mobile connectivity is still inconsistent. Also, high-speed internet services that are provided under the BharatNet project are expected to do more than the CSCs over private broadband internet providers who are offering internet services in those particular areas.
In this project, the government combined with Zee-owned Sugarbox Networks to offer these entertainment services based on the internet around a hundred locations throughout the country.
Apart from free entertainment content, the government is also providing free internet services through CSCs up to March 2020. After this free trial period, the CSCs may charge for these internet service coupons. The government said that it would not cost more than Rs. 500 per month, but it is to be noted that the CSCs will charge at different prices for different regions.
Under the BharatNet program, the GOI is planning to connect more than 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats or village blocks with optic fiber network throughout India. This mission aims to provide high-speed broadband services across all the rural regions. The total village count aimed is approximately 1.42 lakh throughout India by 2022.