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Telecom twins line up mega investment

New Delhi, March 13: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) will invest Rs 20,000 crore to add 60 million new lines over the next three to four years.

Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, communications minister Dayanidhi Maran said the telecom giants have proposed to provide half of these connections in rural areas. “BSNL and MTNL have proposed to invest between Rs 18,000 crore and Rs 20,000 crore during the next three or four years in network expansion,” Maran said, adding that the government has set a target of 250 million phone connections (including 200 million mobile phone connections) in the country by 2007.

On whether the government would take steps to increase the spectrum for the telecom sector, Maran said a group of ministers has already been looking into the issue.

He, however, added that the government would try to bring down the level of spectrum use by the defence sector to increase its availability for telephony use. But he clarified that while taking any such decision, the interest of the defence sector would be borne in mind. Moreover, the defence sector would be provided with high-tech gadgets to supplement their use of spectrum.

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