State-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and software solutions provider HCL Infosystems have entered into a partnership aimed at accelerating the uptake of information technology in India. According to Thaindian News, the two companies have signed an agreement to work together on the National Broadband Penetration Programme (NBPP), and BSNL has revealed it will benefit from funding from the country’s Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) for the project. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has approved subsidies for the telco of INR4,500 (USD92.93) per broadband connection that is rolled out through any of the operator’s 27,789 rural exchanges. For its part HCL will offer subsidised computer hardware, as well as setting up four call centres, two each for enquiries and technical support. For those looking to sign up for a broadband service, HCL will offer computers through its ‘Touch’ outlets in more than 4,000 towns, with hardware costing an initial INR2,250 plus a further INR300 per month; the cost of the broadband service itself post-subsidy will be between INR99 or IN150 per month. Commenting on the development, Kuldeep Goyal, BSNL’s chairman and managing director, said: ‘This is indeed one of the major initiatives to bridge the digital divide by offering personal computers plus broadband at subsidised rates to our customers.’
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