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In 1998-99, the Government of India through its own  telecom company BSNL kicked off a nation wide drive to provide at least one public telephone (VPT) in every village in the country within the next 4-5 years. There are millions of villages in India that do not have any telephone and the resources available were limited. The strategy therefore was to take up the project, which is massive by all standards, in a phased manner so that the benefit of telecommunication is delivered to the largest number of people in the shortest possible time.

As it is impossible to provide telephone lines to all villages in one go, the challenge is to draw up and execute a phased plan based on the population, demographics and technical feasibility of cable laying. For the plan to be effective, it has to be based on hard facts and ground realities.

In November 1999 we were asked by the General Manager, Kharagpur Telecom Circle, to provide a solution to help in drawing up the plan and monitoring the progress. After a thorough analysis of the nature of the data and the decision making model, we chose GIS because of its ability to handle both textual and spatial data.
The solution that we delivered
  • Database comprising :
  • Digitised maps of the District boundary, Sub-division boundaries Short Distance Charging Area boundaries, location of Villages (11,751), location of Telephone Exchanges, Roads, Railway Lines, Rivers and Canals.
  • Census data of Village population and demographics
  • Data on existing Village Telephones
  • Data on Telephone Exchanges – capacity and other technical data
  • Census data attached with the Village location map
  • Existing Village Telephones data attached with the Village location map
  • Telephone Exchanges data attached with the Exchanges location map
  • Customised queries and reports to help in choosing villages for providing telephone connections – based on population, proximity to a telephone exchange, natural obstacles, existing telephone availability, distance from nearest village having public telephone, and other decision parameters.
  • Interface to add data when new village telephones are commissioned.

Technology : MapInfo, MapBasic, Foxpro
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