NEW DELHI: State-controlled Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is planning to monetise its robust fibre-based network spread across nearly 8 lakh route kilometres in the country.
“The optic fibre leasing is one option that BSNL is considering for last few months now. It can earn cash while putting dark fibre for use of private service providers,” a source at public sector company told the PageOne.
Government-owned BSNL is already sharing its tower assets with telecom operators in the private sector and the new initiative could earn it somewhere between Rs 40,000 crore and Rs 60,000 crore.
To gauge the opportunity and the exact quantum of revenue potential, the state-run telco has constituted a fact-finding committee in coordination with consultants, working aggressively to bring outcome which would be placed before the BSNL board members.
The entire process, according to a person aware of the matter would be concluded within a quarter’s time, and upon receiving due internal approvals, the matter would be duly forwarded to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for a nod.
Over the last few months, BSNL has been grappling with low cash flow, following intense market rivalry and stalled government-aided projects that have led to the delay in February salary disbursement to its 1.7 lakh employees, for the first time.
In addition, the fourth-largest telco is aggressively seeking the Narendra Modi-led government’s approval to allow voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to nearly 54,000 eligible employees, and fourth-generation or 4G airwaves to compete with Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
The revenue-to-wage ratio in BSNL is nearly 70% currently.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court has issued a notice to the DoT and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on a petition filed by K Venkatesh, a Virudhunagar’s businessman saying that the state-driven company was in a bad shape due to mismanagement by politicians, and denied 4G airwaves deliberately.