Free access to a catalog of 4000+ movies under the BharatNet program

BharatNet Digital

To lure remote areas towards the internet, the government has put up exciting freebies on offer. In a direction towards the successful implementation of the Digital India initiative through BharatNet, the Indian government has bundled a catalog of more than 4,000 movie content with the internet.

This will be achieved through a network setup of Common Service Centres (CSCs). They have been formed to provide internet connectivity to far-flung areas through the BharatNet program. The expansion of the BharatNet scheme will define a New Digital India and reconfirm the government’s commitment to using technology for a better and simpler world. To lure customers to first time usage of the internet, entertainment and movie appeared to be the right bait.

CSCs will float monthly pre-paid coupons and the internet services will be accessed via Wi-Fi or direct to home fiber. The free movies and entertainment titles will be available on internet coupons for a trial period of 6 months only.

“It’s a strategy to make people get a taste of internet before driving more use cases,” said a senior government official.

If CSCs have not reached the area, one can access the freebies through digital kiosks. Free internet is also being provides and can be available until March 2020. But the offer of free movies will continue for six months. Once the free trial period expires, CSC will price coupons for less than Rs 500/month. The charges will vary from region to region and will be decided later on.

CSC, owned by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY), has entered into a partnership with Zee-owned SugarBox Networks. High-speed broadband services will be provided through BharatNet to areas where private players have not reached. In the pilot run to test the response, 100 locations have been shortlisted.

SugarBox Networks is involved in the pilot project to offer entertainment services to CSCs. Along with “consumption trends” enabled by fast streaming or downloads the Networks will look at the implementation of pricing models in the future. Depending upon the response received, it will come up with lucrative and affordable movie streaming packs/month.

Looking at the potential and response of the market, SugarBox is planning to expand the prepaid coupon services. Keeping in mind the mood of end-users, it is likely to go for packs such as gaming, e-commerce, and e-learning among others through its platform.

In Budget 2020, the government has earmarked Rs 6000 crore to the BharatNet program to enhance broadband connectivity. More than 250,000-gram panchayats or village blocks across India will be connected with an optic fiber network.

Written by Rashmi


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