By RYAN SULLIVANAssociated PressNew Delhi, Dec. 15 (Reuters) – India plans to deploy fiber optic cables connecting a new high-speed Internet hub in rural and urban areas across the country, and will soon deploy a high-capacity wireless broadband network that will connect people’s homes to the world wide web.
The Government of India has awarded a 10-year contract to Globalwire to build the new Internet hub, a $10 billion project that will provide Internet connectivity to a population that has the lowest Internet penetration rate in the world, according to the company.
The Indian government awarded the contract to the telecommunications company to build and operate the project, said Rajesh Gupta, a spokesman for the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
India, the world’s fourth-largest economy, is trying to expand its Internet access and improve its digital services.
The government has promised to invest $1.5 trillion ($1.8 trillion) in the Internet and telecommunications sector by 2022.
The project will also bring connectivity to more rural areas, which has been an Achilles heel for India.
India has about 1.1 billion people and the population of rural India is estimated at 3.5 million, according the United Nations.
The new fiber optic cable will connect the Hub to rural areas and will also be able to connect people to the World Wide Web.
The hub will include about 600,000 premises and will be located in several towns and villages in the country.
The hub will be connected to a network of fiber optic wires and fiber-optic cables that connect the rural and industrial areas, Gupta said.
The Internet hub will connect a population with about 60 million people, the company said.
India’s Internet penetration is about 40 percent.
India is also trying to boost its digital economy, and is expected to make significant investments in broadband networks and internet infrastructure.
The government has proposed building new broadband networks in areas where the Internet penetration has not increased, but the country has yet to make concrete plans.
The company will use the $1 billion contract for a number of purposes, Gupta added.
India aims to create a new network of high-tech communications infrastructure and the Internet hub is part of that effort, Gupta told a news conference.
(Reporting by RYANSHA MURRAY; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Robert Birsel)