Mumbai: India needs to bridge the urban-rural digital divide by deepening broadband penetration by 40-50% if it wants to increase GDP growth, Internet network management firm, Cisco Systems, said.
“From a broadband point of view, India is extremely low on the list of technology penetration. You would need an average penetration of about 40-50% in broadband (to be at par with) leading countries like Sweden, Netherlands and Korea... that is the world-wide average,” Cisco Systems Inc, Chief Globalization Officer and Cisco Services Executive Vice President, Wim Elfrink said.
Elfrink said there was a correlation between broadband penetration and the productivity of a nation.
“A ten percentage-point increase in broadband penetration for an average nation results in an acceleration of economic growth of 1.3 percentage point,” he said citing a World Bank report.
High-speed networks have become part of the basic infrastructure of any country enabling growth.
“So, I think the new Government now having embraced the plan for broadband penetration, there would be more and more people connected over the next few years,” Elfrink said.
As part of the Government’s National Broadband Penetration Program (NBPP), HCL Infosystems and BSNL have decided to provide personal computers to rural masses.
India’s Broadband Policy 2004 targets a total of 20- million broadband connections by 2010, whereas penetration stands at a meagre 6.8-million, the data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said.
Industry body CII is pushing a broadband adoption plan with the aim of having 214-million connections by 2014.
Elfrink said that emerging countries like India could capitalise on opportunities created by an increasing broadband user base.
“Three-billion people will be connected to the Internet and there will be 14-billion devices connected to the Internet by 2010. These market transitions are creating new opportunities. The emerging countries can lead the innovation here,” he said.