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This Indian Border State to Get A Digital Boost, Lighting up the Villages

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One of the most crucial tools for growth in the northeast is thought to be the Narendra Modi-led central government's push to make the internet secure and available for all inhabitants, especially in remote areas. At least 70,000 people who live in the Indian Territory villages close to the LAC (Line of Actual Control) will benefit from the move by getting much-needed Internet and broadband connectivity. The action is quite significant because China is developing its infrastructure close to the LAC.

4G for Arunachal Pradesh
In Lumpo, one of the last villages in the district close to the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh, a government-funded 4G tower of Airtel began offering services to enable locals to access the new age of the digital economy. Reliance Jio, Airtel's main competitor, has already established a presence in Dirang, 38 km from Bomdila, a neighborhood between Tawang and the state capital Itanagar. It plans to connect Jang, which is located 98 kilometers from Dirang, by mid-May and Tawang (40 kilometers from Jang) by this year. The community will have access to a variety of services thanks to the telecom tower. Most residents of Lumpo and the surrounding villages now have their own vehicles thanks to improvements in the road system, but in the absence of a data network, they must travel for hours to access banking, schooling, shopping, government services, etc.

Villagers have been using mobile phones for the last 10-12 years on the BSNL network, but data doesn't work. Airtel 4G has just started, and now they are able to transact using Google Pay and PhonePe. Google is also working well now. They are able to see the online videos as well. And the Tawag district office, which is about 115 km from Lumpo and only 3-5 kilometers in aerial distance from the LAC. While Jio has 10 tower sites on the Indo-Bangla border in Tripura, 19 on the Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya, as well as on the Indo-Myanmar border in Mizoram and Manipur, Airtel has increased telecom services on the Tawang border.

In total, Jio has 457 locations near international borders, and Airtel has 383 sites. According to Dorjee, residents must transfer their children to Tawang town for education because even minor academic uncertainties cannot be resolved in the hamlet. The residents of the villagers on the borders will be able to offer our kids online education here once 4G services launch. The majority of the residents are blue-collar employees, yet they are aware of the value of data and use it when they travel into town.

Another community close to LAC, Zemithang, which is 17 km away from Lumpo, has recently begun to receive 4G signals from Airtel. However, people claim they are irregular. Phurpha Leki, the leader of Zemithang village, stated that although people have been utilizing the BSNL network for the last 10 to 12 years, it does not provide data connectivity.

Today, 60 percent of homes in the town largely shop online. Airtel has activated 263 towers for 4G services and will add another 445 towers in Arunachal by the end of this year

According to the residents, they have been getting Airtel signals for the last one or two years, but it doesn't have an internet facility. They have a few local shopkeepers who collect money then they get the mobile recharge done from people at the foothills. They suffer heavy losses due to this. They pay Rs. 120-130 and get only usage worth Rs 97. People say that if they get proper internet services, they can overcome many issues.

Role of Telecom Operators in Improving the Life of the Villages
When residents recharge their DTH and mobile phones through Airtel and BSNL, they occasionally experience fast internet speeds. With a total investment of Rs 2,675 crore, the Centre has sanctioned 2,605 4G mobile towers to provide connection to more than 3,721 communities in Arunachal Pradesh, including connectivity at Bum La Pass close to the line of actual control.

The ministry claims that the communities close to LAC will receive 4G and 5G services. In Tawang, 59 towers are being converted to 4G. According to guidelines from the Indian government, it must be completed by December. With USOF assistance, 4G towers will be built and will cover the entire border region. The construction of towers at Bum La Pass, Mago, and Thingbu villages, which are on the district's eastern edge close to the India-Tibet border, will soon have 4G services. Airtel will shortly install its 4G there, and BSNL is now erecting a tower nearby. The data speed of the 4G has increased near the border in order to provide local administration to provide online services and facilities to the villages on the border.

The ministries claim that as internet connectivity has improved, local residents' use of online shopping has increased. People had few options in the past. Local business owners now take internet orders and deliver them to local residents. Inland mail has decreased in the district, although e-commerce shipments have considerably increased.

According to the government, it will dispatch 80-85 parcels daily. It has seen an increase in e-commerce parcels in the last two years. It has more than doubled. Today, 60 percent of homes in the town largely shop online. Airtel has activated 263 towers for 4G services and will add another 445 towers in Arunachal by the end of this year.

4G in Tawang District
The state-owned company was the first to set up a mobile network in Tawang district's challenging topography, including at the height of 13,700 feet in the snow-covered Sela Pass Mountain. A mobile tower is currently being built at Bum La Pass in Tawang, which is more than 14,000 feet above sea level.

According to BSNL, at Sela Pass, which is situated at a height of 13,700 feet above sea level, there is a 2G plus 3G BTS. By December, it will be converted to 4G. By the end of the year, we'll have another 4G site in Bum La Pass. It currently has 18 sites for new 4G towers shortlisted in Tawang. By December, all of these will be finished.

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