A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today among BBNL, Department of Posts and BSNL for providing broadband connectivity of BharatNet to Post Offices in rural areas. The MoU signed under the chairmanship of Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha is the first tri-partite agreement to provide broadband connectivity to about 1.3 lakh, post offices in rural areas and 25,000 sub-post offices for high speed internet connectivity to the rural masses.Speaking on the occasion, Shri Sinha said that the first phase of connecting about one lakh Gram Panchayats is nearing its completion and in the remaining one and a half lakh Gram Panchayats 100 mbps broadband connectivity will be completed by December, 2018. In reply to a question, the Minister said that BharatNet is one of the 9 pillars of realising the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India.Shri Sinha said that provision of citizen services is the focus of BharatNet and in the agreement signed today, BSNL is the service provider, that would provide broadband services, the cost of setting up of infrastructure and the operational expenses would be paid by the Department of Posts. Since the BharatNet is the National Network, BBNL would facilitate and coordinate this entire operation. In future, MoUs with other Government Departments are also proposed to be signed.