Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet today approved the third revival package for state-run telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) with a total outlay of ₹89,047 crore. The revival package includes the allotment of 4G and 5G spectrum for BSNL through equity infusion.

The authorised capital of BSNL will be increased from ₹1,50,000 crore to ₹2,10,000 crore. "With this revival package, BSNL will emerge as a stable telecom service provider focused on providing connectivity to the remotest parts of India," says the Ministry of Communications in a statement.

The maximum budgetary support worth ₹46,338.60 crore has been made in 700 MHz band; followed by ₹26,184.20 crore in 3300 MHz; and ₹6,564.93 crore in 26 GHz; and ₹9,428.20 crore in 26 GHz; and ₹9,428.20 crore in 2500 MHz band.

With this spectrum allotment, BSNL will be able to provide pan India 4G and 5G services. It'll also be able to provide 4G coverage in rural and uncovered villages under various connectivity projects. It can also provide fixed wireless access (FWA) services for high-speed internet and services or spectrum for captive non-public networks.

For the revival of state-run telcos, BSNL and MTNL, the government approved the first revival package for BSNL/MTNL in 2019, which amounted to ₹69,000 crore and brought stability to BSNL/MTNL.

In 2022, the government approved a second revival package worth ₹1.64 lakh crore. Under this package, the Centre provided financial support for capex, viability gap funding for rural landlines, financial support for de-stressing the balance sheet, settlement of AGR dues, and merger of BBNL with BSNL.

The revival packages allowed the company to pare the overall debt. BSNL has also started earning operating profits since FY 2021-22. Its debt has reduced from ₹32,944 crore to ₹22,289 crore.

BSNL's revenue from operations surged to ₹20,699 crore in FY23, up from ₹19,053 crore in FY22; and ₹18,595 crore. The operating profit also surged to ₹1,559 crore in FY23, up from ₹944 crore in FY22 and ₹1,177 crore in FY21.

BSNL has also achieved strong growth in the home fiber segment, says the ministry. "It is providing more than 1 lakh new connections every month. The total home fiber subscriber base of BSNL in May 2023 is 30.88 lakh, while its revenue from home fiber last year was ₹2,071 crore," the ministry adds.

Besides, the Cabinet, while approving the revival package for BSNL on 27.07.2022, had approved the formation of a committee of secretaries (CoS) to resolve matters of MTNL, including its merger with BSNL. The government has also reserved spectrum for providing 5G services by BSNL and it says the 5G services will be started after rollout of BSNL 4G services.

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