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Govt allows PowerGrid to plug into telecom

New Delhi, April 15: The government has accorded an in-principle approval to Power Grid Corporation of India’s (PGCIL) plan to expand the telecom operations, and increase investment by another Rs 500 crore in the next two years.

The group of ministers has given in-principle clearance to PGCIL’s proposal to lease out optical fibre for commercial purposes. The company has the clearance to offer bandwidth to private companies. Its big clients include Bharti and Tata Teleservices.

PGCIL is likely to announce a major telecom initiative on Wednesday. Sources in the company said: “It will be a great boost for our telecom venture. The in-principle clearance, we hope, will be examined soon by the concerned authorities. A final order is expected soon.”

“Once we get the clearance, additional investment of Rs 200-250 crore can be made to complete the unfinished fibre optic cable links to various parts of the country. The telecom venture requires a minimum of Rs 500 crore investment to be able to compete in the broadband market,” sources said.

The company has already invested more than Rs 1,000 crore in telecom operations. However, it has been unable to earn a major revenue due to the absence of technical clearances from the government.

“In absence of the clearances, we were not able to market our telecom business on commercial lines. Now, we hope to market our capabilities and utilise the telecom network to earn additional revenue. A part of it would be reflected in the financial results to be announced on Wednesday and also in the next financial year,” sources said.

PGCIL’s transmission network provides an excellent connectivity amongst various state capital, major towns and distant cities.

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