Ind-Ra, Telecom News, ET Telecom | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack | #cybersecurity | #infosecurity | #hacker

NEW DELHI: The setting up of an optical fibre network across the country under the BharatNet initiative through the public-private partnership (PPP) model offers a unique growth opportunity to the private infrastructure sector, and it will encourage the adoption of such model in more sectors, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) said on Thursday.

However, the firm pointed out that risk allocation in concession agreements would be critical for the success of the PPP model and the availing of debt capital.

“Nature of risks will differ for BharatNet compared to traditional infrastructure assets because of the wide geographical area of the project, technology involved, competition in the telecom space, and associated risks,” Ind-Ra said.

On June 30, the Union Cabinet approved the implementation of BharatNet in 16 states through PPP. The network will cover 3.61 lakh villages through gram panchayats (GPs) or village blocks.

The revised strategy for connecting the remaining GPs and villages envisages the creation, upgradation, operation, maintenance, and utilization of BharatNet through a concession agreement.

It is worth noting that the BharatNet implementation through PPP is split into nine packages across 16 states for which tenders were floated by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) on July 20. A single bidder can be allotted a maximum of four packages.

The envisaged engineering procurement and construction cost is Rs 294.3 billion and viability gap funding (VGF) approved is Rs 190 billion, according to PPP Appraisal Committee.

The rating agency also believes the advent of the PPP model in telecom network, electric bus market, rail infrastructure, and in advance metering infrastructure in the electricity network, etc., to augur well with the private sector.

“Defining the outcomes of infrastructure projects (uptime for BharatNet assets/electricity meters) in the concession agreements ensures the quality of assets, as revenue depends on the operations of assets. Thus, balanced concession frameworks could enhance the social outcomes for the public and utilities too. Applying the learning under PPP models over the last decade would aid in getting the investor interest while competition would bring in efficiencies in financing, implementation, and operations,” it added. It, however, cautioned that delays in Right of Way (RoW) can affect the project completion and the revenue potential of the network considering that BharatNet phase II has experienced significant delays including delays in procuring RoW.

Additionally, network uptime, the design of the asset, and technology are likely to decide maintenance requirements and network uptime during operations.

The network uptime requirement is at least 98% in the PPP framework. However, the present network reported uptime of 58% on 30 November 2020, Inda-Ra said.

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