New Delhi: In another big step towards Modi government’s Digital India plan, the central government will provide free WiFi till March 2020 to all villages connected through the BharatNet broadband service, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.

Currently, around 48,000 villages connected through the BharatNet project have WiFi access.

Inaugurating Digital Village Gurawara in Rewari in Haryana, Prasad said, the Ministry has already connected one lakh 30 thousand gram panchayats through Bharatnet.

“We have already connected 1.3 lakh gram panchayats through BharatNet optical fibre network… Our target is to take this to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats. To promote utilisation of BharatNet services, we will provide WiFi free in all villages connected through BharatNet till March 2020,” the minister said.

Last year, the government said it had connected nearly 1 lakh gram panchayats through BharatNet in phase-one. The minister also said the target of the government is to convert at least 15 per cent of villages to the digital village in the next four years.

Prasad further said, that the process of empowering villages is on track and day is not far off when rural India will take the lead in shaping the country’s dreams.

As per an Indian Express report, so far, a total of Rs 20,431 crore has been spent from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) for connecting villages under BharatNet.