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District Panchayat, Sabarkantha

Digital Setu - Khedbrahma Model

of Rural Broadband Internet
Background:In his first address to the Parliament of India Hon. Prime Minister of India Shri.
Narendra Modi had spoken about the need and benefits of high speed internet to each
and every village in India. On 15 th august 2014 he gave the vision for Digital India where
connectivity leads to prosperity.
Minister of Science and Technology met the Prime Minister to build an e
Governance campus in Gujarat with the help of central IT department, which may
include e Governance academy, latest IT infrastructure, centre for excellence for e
Governance, Cyber security cell and Digital library.
Recently an Inter-ministerial panel of the Telecom Commission gave its approval
to a revised strategy for National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) under which 2.5 lakh
gram panchayat have access to broad band connectivity by March, 2017. 50,000 villages
would be covered by the end of this financial year, and then 100,000 each year till 201617. The inter-ministerial panel also approved providing funds for the GUN (government
user network) over NOFN project.
Currently Ahmedabad is experiencing 4-G internet technology. But within 100
miles of Ahmadabad even a 2G connection is not reliable.
About a third of India's 252 million internet users, and a fourth of mobile internet
users are in rural areas. But internet penetration in villages, at 8.6% compared to 37.4%
in cities, has a long way to go, and this is the statistics Digital India hopes to change.
Broadband in India is currently defined as a connection with a minimum download
speed of 512 kilo bytes per second (kbps), and India's broadband penetration is a lowly
2%. Broadband connected villages can transform the lives of people, connect them with
livelihood opportunities and bridge the knowledge divide.
As per a World Bank report, a 10% increase in a country's broadband
connections leads to a 1.38% rise in its gross domestic product. This RuralSubmitted By: - Nagarajan M. IAS

District Panchayat, Sabarkantha

Urban divide and the Digital Divide have to be addressed quickly and with full force if
we are to fully utilize the contribution of the rural sector to the economy.
It is imperative to look into other options to make rural broadband and rural WiFi as a profitable proposition in rural areas. There is a need to create new models of
broadband access depending on local needs and resources. Left to the market forces the
Broadband is not going to go all places that we want it to.
Dream of Building a Digital India:

Big Telecom always runs behind big money. Telecom companies are not
interested to provide voice or data services in rural areas due to various reasons. That is
the reason the Government of India brought in the Universal Service Obligation Fund
(USOF) to cross subsidize rural service providers to cover the losses they make.
Reliance Jio was the first company to get pan India license to roll out 4G services
and they choose 5000 towns in India covering 90% of the urban population and some
215,000 villages. Jio acquired pan-India airwaves in the 2300 MHz band four years ago
Submitted By: - Nagarajan M. IAS

District Panchayat, Sabarkantha

but is yet to roll out services. Reliance Jio is expected to launch services soon well ahead
of the May 2015 deadline under license conditions. Reliance Jio is said to be planning
for services like live TV (Jio Play), video-on-demand (Jio World), Cloud-based sync and
storage (Jio Drive), and video calls over 4G network and other apps.
In Ahmadabad, Gujarat Reliance jio rolled out 4G public Wi-Fi but doubts were
raised about the actual speeds. The service was launched by the then Chief Minister
Narendrabhai Modi under the e-Nagar project. But the irony of the fact is that within
150 KM (100 miles) of Ahmadabad even 2G connectivity is hard to come by. All free WiFi zones are highly urbanized areas or in restricted places like Airports and malls.
In India Wi-Fi is available in all sorts of places except rural areas. The first step is
always the urban area and rural areas receive step motherly treatment. The urban
areas have multiple access options for internet, while the rural areas are
left with no option. That is why in Mexico the Talea De Castro, a rural community set
up its own mobile network. It took the country 10 years to go from 10 million Internet
users to 100 million Internet users. Now the country is adding five million new Internet
users every month. India now has over 200 million Internet users. This year the number
of Internet users in India will surpass that of U.S. and it will be 500 million by 2018,
most of it is likely to be urban users than rural users.
Hon. PM Mr.Narendrabhai Modi spelt out a vision for Digital India from the
ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, 2014 in his Independence Day speech. Digital India
projects main aim is to transform India into digital empowered society and
knowledge economy.
Nine growth areas identified under Digital India are:

Broadband highways to connect all villages and cities of India


Everywhere mobile connectivity; wherein mobile coverage will be provided to

every nook and corner of India


Public Internet Access Program wherein internet accessibility to the

web will be provided at subsidized rates (example public Wi-Fis)

Submitted By: - Nagarajan M. IAS


District Panchayat, Sabarkantha


E-Governance in every government department, wherein 100% paper-less

environment will be encouraged


e-Kranti, wherein government services would be electronically delivered


Information for All policy (which includes provisioning of Right to Information

using the Internet as a medium)


Electronics manufacturing


IT for Jobs


Early harvest program

Khedbrahma Taluka of District Sabarkantha, Gujarat has connected all 32 Village

Panchayats with high speed internet and became the first tribal taluka to be 100% Wi-Fi

Benefits of getting Broadband to Rural areas:It will help us to build up e-Democracy. It can help us to make all Government
services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery
outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency & reliability of such services at affordable
costs to realize the basic needs of the common man. It will help us to potentiate Mission
Mode Projects at the Center, State and integrated service levels through strengthening of
e-Governance and m-Governance.

Submitted By: - Nagarajan M. IAS


District Panchayat, Sabarkantha

Health department: It will help us to implement projects like

o Telemedicine project

Remote consulting. E.g. ECG services, Digitalization of X-rays and

Ultrasound images and Tele dermatology and many others services can
be provided to very interior facilities of tribal area.

Tele training for field health professionals can be done to keep up to

date knowledge of doctors.

Tele OPD can be run where human resources are not available.

o m-Health-

Real time data entry at village level for various services given

through ASHA and FHW by mobile application. Also collection of e-Mamta

data at village level. It will help us to analyze the data at early basis for taking
relevant decision

e-Education project
o ICT based teaching practices for government officers and other staff.
o Also education of community at Gram Panchayat level.
o Also various courses or short term refresher online training can be arranged
for government staff.

Livelihood Promotion
o Internet browsing centre (cyber cafe) can be established in all the connected
villages by the local youth. This will promote the livelihood of tribal
o All the schools can be connected with each other and transfer of good teaching
practices with each other.
o Gram Panchayat can be made a Hot-Spot to serve internet/Wi-Fi services to
area covered by it. And there will be opportunities to establish a small
business model by which a Gram Panchayat will be earn revenue.
o Integration of all the departments under one platform - Digitalgov
o Video conferencing with every department from each level.
o Provision of internet services in remote and tribal area.

Submitted By: - Nagarajan M. IAS


District Panchayat, Sabarkantha

Khedbrahma Model of Rural Broadband Internet
To provide broadband internet and Wi-Fi services to interior and hard to reach
areas of Gujarat thereby reducing Digital Divide and Rural-Urban Divide.
The model takes internet bandwidth from the nearest available point and
transmits to long distance using 5.8 GHz spectrum. The typical distance varies from
15 20 KM. Every 15 km a tower is erected and the bandwidth is relayed further. It
is possible to relay bandwidth even up to 50 km with line of sight clearance.
Using a hub and spokes model the internet is relayed to all villages in a 10 15
km radius. At every village the signal received is converted to 2.4 GHz (802.11g Wi-Fi
standards) and a Wi-Fi hotspot is created across as much area as needed.

Submitted By: - Nagarajan M. IAS


District Panchayat, Sabarkantha

Business Model:
The Khedbrahma Model is a viable and sustainable way to connect rural areas
to internet highway. The project is called Digital Setu meaning digital bridge.
Submitted By: - Nagarajan M. IAS

District Panchayat, Sabarkantha

The costs of various components of the project are borne by all the stakeholders. It is
a participatory model where the community owns the last mile access and takes care
of customer service and service quality.
The long distance links are constructed by the District Panchayat (Local Rural
Government). Each tower and transmission equipment costs approx. INR 5,
00,000/-. At the village level the cost of receiver and the access points for Wi-Fi
hotspot is borne by Womens Self Help Group (SHGs) or the Village Panchayat, who
participate as Digital Setu Service Provider (DSSP) for the area. For any sale or
turnover happening in their area of operation a 10% commission on the revenue
generated is paid to the digital Setu service provider. They provide billing
distribution and receivables collection services and customer care. There is no other
risk to the service provider.
The Village Computer Entrepreneur (VCE) will work on behalf of Village
Panchayat. He will earn sales commission on recharge coupons and bill collections.
The bandwidth is provided by a private party who has been appointed by the
District Panchayat after following an open tender procedure on a revenue sharing
basis in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. The PPP partner signs a
Service Level Agreement (SLA) and is responsible for
1. Provision of adequate bandwidth as per demand
2. User management, Billing, Security and bandwidth management under various
laws and regulations.
3. Marketing and outreach
Project Costing Details:

Five Towers for long range transmission - Approx 25 lakhs

Each Digital Setu Service Provider invests INR 60,000/- to 1, 50,000/- as per
area of the village.

The average revenue expected (in remote areas) is INR 400 * 150 customers =
INR 60,000/-. 10% revenue share to DSSP = INR 6,000 per month. The
investment will be recouped in 10 months and rest of the months will be in
profit. The revenue is likely to be much higher in Rurban areas and bigger

Submitted By: - Nagarajan M. IAS


District Panchayat, Sabarkantha

Benefit to 3, 00,000 population of a remote and Khedbrahma tribal taluka.

Synergy with existing Government Networks:

E-Gram Network which currently provides bandwidth to 13800 Village
Panchayats of Gujarat uses satellite bandwidth. Digital Setu can supplement
overloading of E-Gram network by providing access to services through
Digital Setu network. This will reduce cost and increase availability of satellite
bandwidth to other villages.
National Optic Fiber network provides for 100 mbps bandwidth at 2,
50,000 Village Panchayats by 2017. However the last mile access can be
provided by Wi-Fi access points that are setup under Digital Setu by
channeling excess bandwidth for public access to internet.
All applications that are run on GSWAN can be provided access under
Digital Setu network including Video conference, Office applications and
services. This will enhance access and reach of Government initiatives to
unreached areas.

Future Plans
District Panchayat Sabarkantha plans to make District Sabarkantha Indias First
100% Wi-Fi enabled district.

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Submitted By: - Nagarajan M. IAS