Sterlite Technologies, part of the Vedanta Group, has emerged as the lowest bidder to supply fibre-optic cables for the government’s national optical fibre network (NOFN), the Economic Times writes, citing an unnamed Department of Telecommunications (DoT) official. The INR210 billion (USD3.41 billlion) project will be handled by state-backed company Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL), which was created especially for the purpose, and will link 250,000 panchayats (small villages or towns) across India with 400,000km of cable. BBNL will hand out separate contracts for supplying cable in six ‘zones’ – north, east, south, west, central and north east – with the deals handed out so that the lowest bidder will meet 70% of the company’s needs, whilst the second lowest bidder will provide the remaining 30%. The unnamed official said that Sterlite’s bid clocked in at a ‘a shade over the [INR]53 per metre reserve price fixed by the government,’ adding that rival bidders including Birla Ericsson Optical, Aksh Optical Fibre, Vidhya Telelink, Paramount Communications, Finolex Cables and Himachal Futuristic Communications ‘would have to match Sterlite’s bid.’
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