What does India’s Internet need?

There are two killer services that can help drive demand for home PCs and broadband:

  • Education: Rs 100 per month for an hour of online education daily for kids, as an alternative for parents sending their kids to coaching classes.
  • Mobile Social Networking: Even though this may seem counter-intuitive, a “mobile-first” approach to social networking can help drive PCs and broadband as people want a better experience.

In addition, there needs to be a lot more money in the value chain to drive content and services. Advertising spend is not enough to lubricate the innovation cycle at Internet companies. Something different needs to be done. Internet companies need to think beyond advertising and learn from the world of mobile VAS and get subscribers to pay small amounts of money.

24 thoughts on “What does India’s Internet need?

  1. Regarding online education, would parents prefer such kind of coaching for kids? It may work for mature self motivated students may be not for kids.

  2. When I was in school, Amazon rainforests was taught by making us memorize the animals there – capybara, kinkajou, anaconda. What if the e-textbook could have a link to click on to see a YouTube video?
    “Acids, Bases and Salts” could link to virtual experiments to understand pH and a quiz on everyday objects which are acidic and basic – soap, lemon, orange, toothpaste, onion.
    “Newton’s laws” could link to a game which requires to understand and use the laws to play with a ball.
    Parents want their child to “get ahead” but dont know how. The Internet, as a fun treasure trove of knowledge, could be as good or even better than personal tutors. I see a lot of promise in this idea –

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  4. Issue with online education is interaction… One of my friend from U.S. wanted to do… i suggested him to make videos and post it for free and then get questions/doubts on text…and then answers again with video … charged.

    There are many of my friends who talk about it … but donno how to put it forward so that it becomes attractive/viable.

    It is a tough nut to crack though.

    In my belief a good teacher should be teaching millions and not 40+ in a four-walled place in this era of communication-unlimited.


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  6. I think Sulekha.com is on to a good thing. I have used this site several times to find tenants for a rental property, a guesthouse in Pune and computer training providers in Lucknow. At least in the professional services domain, they have devised what appears to be a decent algorithm for matching buyers and sellers.

    Rs 100 per month for an hour of online education daily will succeed if it is not seen as yet another commodity item. Tutoring is driven primarily by peer competition i.e. the need for students to differentiate from their peers. It supplements school education, often perceived as catering to the lowest common denominator.

  7. A new website in Chennai is selling a wide variety of fresh vegetables online but with a bit of a twist. The quoted price includes both the actual veggie PLUS a service component.

    They will also cut/ clean the vegetables and you can choose from one of the six different types of cuts listed on the website. We will have to wait and see if this takes off.

  8. Rajesh,
    Rs. 100 for 30 hrs. of online content per month ..I guess tutions for any standard in any place across India would charge more than that. The data plan would definitely be in excess of Rs. 200 per month *per individual*. If the content and access has to be shared, I guess it would be a different model.
    Limiting the debate to individual access, I guess the overall cost would be Rs. 300 per month for 30 hrs. of content. Which would be quite descent.
    However, the challenges are more cultural than economic. The main reason why majority of kids in India are sent for tution/coaching classes is
    – the belief and reality that schools provide poor quality education
    – as simple as to-force-them-to-study. We call it the DANDA
    I guess that forms the 90% of market, which is where the proposed low margin model has to target. Therefore I don’t think the model would work unless the streaming content is interactive and has evaluation module and the students have appropriate device to interact and the parents have access to the evaluation. Maybe it requires a different device. (kids phone..). The shift needed is huge…in B’lore I see most schools are still in audio-visual room and computer lab room mode. They need both device and DANDA.

  9. India also needs good intenet connection to penetrate the country, we are still pay a lot for unreliable kbps connections when the whole world is using mbps at cheaper cost.

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