Anchor | One Big Idea by Dr. Subho Ray: Making the rural market a force to reckon with

29 Jan,2013

By Dr. Subho Ray, President, Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)


The big idea that can change the internet business in India is providing affordable broadband access to rural India. However, it is not the idea itself that is important, but its implementation. The digital future is being built as we speak. The government is committed to spending Rs 20,000 crores in reaching true broadband connection to all the 2.5 lakh panchayats through a fibre optic backbone. Usually, people are ignorant or sceptical of such government projects, but I am personally very bullish about this one. Even if half the project is completed within the next two years, we will have broadband connection reaching more than a lakh village panchayats.


This will be like handing over a livelihood tool to the usually infrastructure-poor areas and similar to teaching a person how to catch a fish. Of course, initially the adoption will be slow at first, then there will be self-discovery of the potential of the internet, and then there will be the special India jugaad!


This process in the next three to four years will change the face of the internet and also the face of rural India. The former will change because new content and services will have to be designed for a completely new market, the latter will change because commerce and information will be available at the tip of the finger. With that, empowerment and inclusion will not be far behind.


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