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|June 5, 1998||
India's first privately owned fixed telephone network opened its operations at Indore, Madhya Pradesh, yesterday, marking a turning point in the century-old government monopoly in the telephone industry.
Vajpayee congratulated all those who were associated with the project. He said that it is a significant step in private sector participation in basic telephone services.
Later, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh made the first commercial call to the Minister of Communications and Information and Broadcasting Sushma Swaraj, who appreciated the efforts by the Madhya Pradesh government in proving the required support to the company in this new venture.
She described the venture as the first step in fulfilling one of the principal objectives of the national telecom policy, that of providing telephones in every nook and corner of India.
After the National Telecom Policy of 1994, the government had decided to invite private sector participation in providing basic telephone services in all the telecom circles in the country. Bharti Telenet Limited was the first company to sign the licence agreement with the government on February 28 last year.
The company has now become the first to begin operations.
Under provisions of the licence agreement, the company is to provide 150,000 direct exchange lines in the first three years of the licence period. It has also committed to provide 5,500 village public telephones in each of its first three years of operation.
The proposed investment in the first three years would be approximately Rs 5.7 billion.
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