Monday, June 08, 2009

In Country Long Term Plans for Indian Telecom

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

It will not be expensive. It will not require big budgets. It will not need any investment bankers. It will not need any government approvals. It will not need shareholder consent. It will be a simple strategy to look for greater revenue sources with long term profit for telecom companies.

India still offers great internal opportunity for long term growth with sustainable revenue and profit opportunities in telecom.

Billions of hours and dollars are spent on the streets fighting traffic and consuming fuel. Let us not forget the pollution and all other costs of travelling. The stress is another factor in simply getting from place to place. There is no place in India big or small where traffic doesn’t far exceed the capacity of the roads, and it is only getting worse.

With most urban India well connected, companies can start looking at telecommuting as an option to ease the burden of traffic and cost. Internet and phone service is no longer expensive, and can be deployed for a multitude of support services, and work at home options for many jobs. Specially the telecom related services can be well handled away from the offices and can be effective. Indian enterprise should take a leaf from many of the western environments where working from home, and remote locations is common.

Wireless Villages
Close by tower can provide internet to villages nearby, and provide Internet access. Each village can be a self containing telecommunications center albeit small. Many people from the villagers already have mobile phones and already in the mobile user group and bringing internet to every village will further develop their ability to access the world through computers.

Village Web Sites
Probably the most fascinating thing about India is its villages. Nowadays there are many well educated people from the villages who no longer live there, leaving behind their families. There are also a huge number of NRI who belong to the rural India. Adapting to telecommuting, introducing wireless services into the villages will only enhance the community to become a part of the global landscape. A simple website can be very inexpensive to create and maintain. Perhaps this is also an initiative that the government can undertake in real rural development programs.

Voter registration, weather bulletins, agricultural programs and updates, political news, people and productivity issues, local happenings and other individualized information can be instant to the village websites. Involving the local talent from the village will help in keeping things up-to-date and informative.

Government can post the local project activity, development plans and any relevant issues to the locals. Local schools and colleges nearby can be made responsible for making every effort to keep data current and help maintain the websites. It may be a great idea to include such activity into the daily learning for school and college going kids, who will enthusiastically work on them and will learn the mechanics at the same time.

Online Education
Simply linking the wireless villages, websites and complete communications access will enhance the ability to learn from long distance. Both the rural children and adults will benefit from online education.

Outside of the vast amount of free information available on the internet, it is simple to design and provide online education. Every school with a small computer center can serve the purpose of both real time and offline education.
Children during the day time and adults during the evening can benefit from learning.

As the country continues to grow, it is also important to have intellectual growth to continue to make the nation reinvent itself and adapt to the changing times. Be it agricultural methods or software development India needs to keep learning and improving to prosper for ever, and no better ways to keep providing the edge to the people than education. Online education is inexpensive and available all the time for people who want to learn.

While we should support global expansion of our homegrown telecom companies, we should plan for continued growth with in the country. If the new government plans to wipeout all slums in India within 5 years, it can easily support to incorporate telecommunications reach to 100% of Indians in the same timeframe.

June 7th 2009
Vasu Reddy
Optus Technologies, Inc.

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