The digital infrastructure in India is undergoing a dramatic change, which may not be very obvious. This transformation will create opportunities for content and community portals and websites, and rekindle interest in Internet information services. But along with the change in the connectivity and access devices will also come the need for change in the content that users would like to access. In short, computing and communications technologies stand at the threshold of making the Internet a utility in India the question that needs to be discussed (later) is: how can the portals rise to the occasion?
There are three significant changes taking place in the connectivity infrastructure in India:
A few government decisions can go a long way in opening up the access infrastructure dramatically. Legalising Voice-over-IP, delicencing WiFi and eliminating (or even halving) duties on IT and telecom equipment can help create greater demand.
This brings us to the access devices. What is needed is a family of access devices which has the affordable business model of phones (payment of less than Rs 1,000 upfront and Rs 500 per month) and the functionality, versatility and footprint of a computer. This is where thin clients costing Rs 5,000-7,000 need to come in this will bring the price point of a user device to the levels of a handset, enabling low-cost monthly rentals for the service provider to recover the cost of the device.
An always-on, broadband access infrastructure and affordable access devices are two of the three legs that the Indian Internet infrastructure needs to be built on. The third is the availability of content, software and services which can attract users and make the Internet a key part of their lives. This is where visible innovation has stagnated, with the current art being the web browser, websites that we visit and search engines that we scour to get to the websites. What is needed is a New Information Platform.
Tomorrow: The New Information Platform
TECH TALK India.com+T