India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) aims to expand mobile phone services to all of the roughly 10% of villages in the country which remain unconnected to cellular networks by December 2016 as part of the Digital India programme, Telecompaper reports, quoting The Economic Times. Of some 600,000 villages across India, around 55,000 are still not connected to mobile services. The coverage gaps are particularly noticeable in certain zones: according to regulatory data, in the Arunachal Pradesh region nearly 56% of villages are not yet within the mobile footprint, while the figure is 38% in the Meghalaya area, 32% in Mizoram and 24% in Manipur. In a related move, in September 2014 the government approved a state-backed plan to deploy 6,673 cellular towers across 8,621 villages, mainly in the north-east.
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