The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Reliance fulfils 88% rural phone obligation

New Delhi, April 24: Reliance Infocomm Ltd, the basic telecom service provider in 17 telecom circles, has for the first time revealed the status of its rollout obligation and claims to have covered 88 per cent of village public telephones (VPTs) in its licence area.

In a presentation made to the communications ministry, the company claims to have provided 3,714 VPTs till March 31, meeting 88 per cent of its obligation. The company is obliged to establish 4,202 VPTs.

Reliance claims that the number of VPTs installed by it works out to be 50 per cent of the VPTs installed by all basic telecom operators.

Sources in the communications ministry said, “Most of the VPTs in the 17 circles were already covered by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and, as a result, the total number of VPTs had come down to less than 5,000 as against 25,000 in 1999-2000.”

Sources in Reliance said, “It is true that the VPT rollout obligation has come down since the time of securing the licence, but we have also fulfilled our obligations.”

According to a statement made in Lok Sabha by Sumitra Mahajan, minister of state for communications and information technology, Reliance Telecom Ltd, the licence holder for providing basic service in Gujarat for the same period, is said to have installed 3,939 VPTs.

The company claims that it established services in 131 cities and has set up 1,461 point of presence in 1,461 short distance charging area (SDCA) that is equivalent to a block in a district.

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