Internet: A distant dream for India's aam admi

Shreenesh Raman

The government along with its policy makers and tech savvy people of the young India are still in the 'Dark Age' when it comes to adoption of internet and e-services. 

With a country of over billion people, more than 15 percent of our GDP is coming from the service industry (IT/ITeS). The large multinational corporations set shops in India in late 20th century after the government assured massive freebies in the name of tax sops and IT parks developments.

Those multinational corporations’ including Amazon, Google, Intel, Texas Instruments, IBM, Microsoft are able to host their cloud from the same country where its ‘aam-admi’ is devoid of a basic internet connection with a minimum assured speed of 512kbps.

When certain Western and Southeastern countries in the world are reaching great heights through internet revolution, here in India we still dream for a 2 Mbps connection with least 70 percent uptime. The cartelisation of internet bandwidth market has led to high bandwidth rates, thanks to the efforts taken by TATA, Airtel and RCom for denying the power of Internet. Even the union telecom ministry is not able to face the situation on the ‘alleged’ cartelisation.  

BSNL a ‘failed’ Corporation

The fate of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited is still hanging in the air. The company once proud of their cross-country presence is in shambles due to day today interference of DoT. After the 2G spectrum allocation scam, the administration of BSNL went on a roller coaster ride.

“BSNL is one of the white elephant maintained by the Union government,” said a BSNL staff on condition of anonymity. The massive workforce of more than one lakh is no more use, hurting the efficiency of the company. The core network and equipments are IP based network, however,  the company still depends on the skill of its line man who has no up-to-date knowledge on the modern equipment.

I hope, massive reduction in ailing workforce and increase of administrative freedom to a certain limit will turn the white elephant an African elephant in a decade's time. 

BBNL: An initiative with hope

The announcement of Bharat Broadband Network Limited with much fanfare by the union telecom ministry is another project built on the dreams based on PSUs like BSNL, Power Grid and RailTel. The OFC network of BSNL spanning every nook and corner of the country is an advantage for BBNL. However, the bureaucratic red tapeand restrictions surrounding the tenders for purchase of OFC’s, GPON equipment and ONTs are posing great risk on the efficient roll-out of the network.

The three private telecom companies that command over 90 percent of the internet gateways were not included in the project. The government simply ignored these companies onto the board of BBNL. After selling stake of VSNL, the government lost its control over the international bandwidth market. Without international bandwidth, developing a countrywide optic fiber network is rather a huge risk taken by the government.

Even though the government promises to roll out more e-governance initiative, commercial roll out of broadband service across the nation alone will bring in the much needed internet penetration in terms of numbers. Connecting every village level offices will not benefit the masses.

In my honest opinion, the government must set tough regulation to control the gateway operators with strict tariffs. 

Lastly, the last mile connectivity is a major roadblock faced by the telecom companies. To solve the issue, the government must come forward to open up the unlit fiber capacity of PSU ISPs. Only then, the internet penetration will be a success story like mobile phone revolution for a country of Billions.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will be
    waiting for your next write ups thank you once again.