Bangalore: The challenge before the country is to enhance rural connectivity and engage evolving technologies in the field of education by facilitiating distance learning and creating virtual classrooms, according to Sam Pitroda, chairman, National Knowledge Commission.
The country needed to focus on applications for education, e-governance, health, food and developing local applications in the future, he said in his keynote address through tele-conferencing at the CII organised ‘Comtel 2008’ on the theme ‘Breaking Barriers, Bridging the Divide’ here on Wednesday, 30 January.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajiv Mody, chairman and ceo, Sasken Communication Technologies Limited, said despite the significant growth in the Indian telecom industry, tele-density was low with a visible technology divide between rural and urban strata.
While the gap between the digital haves and have-nots has narrowed significantly, the aim is to reach the same level of growth in rural areas as in urban areas.
“Bridging the divide is all about making communication affordable, accessible and reliable for all classes of people, both urban and rural”, he said.
Mody said a large part of the next set of telecom customers would be in rural areas and rural connectivity would become the next hot issue facing the industry. “There are numerous opportunities in the rural areas. The key lies in encouraging local content to help implement e-governance applications and connect rural India for an overall inclusive growth”, he said.
Some of the focus areas over the next five years would be rural connectivity, e-governance applications, e-commerce, tele-medicine and e-education, Mody said.
“The focus in the near future would be to identify challenges to reach the 525 million in the next three years. Infrastructure and regulatory issues need to be addressed,” he said.
“We need to prepare for the next big steps in the telecom evolution, most importantly fixed/mobile convergence and opening the market to ISVs for service creation.”
“We need to be ready for reaping the rewards of change in the telecom equipment market, such as advance of standardized hardware and software architectures, which may drive down prices and open up competition among suppliers,” he said.
Speaking through a tele-conference, Arun Netravali, managing parner, Omni Capital, LLC, said rapid strides in technology would also change the way video was delivered.
Video distribution will transform dramatically and there would be a shift from access to limited local content to access to unlimited globally stored video content. This could happen through building a separate network for video distribution, he said.