May 25, 2004

Driving Wireless Internet in Rural India

Map of India

Dr. P.S. Ramkumar from Intel India Strategic Initiatives. This talk was given at Intel Research Seattle.

Modern IT technology does not work for the majority of the world. 85% of the world's population account for <5% of the Internet usage. This is due to several challenges:

  • Cost The cost of a copper phone line in Indea has dropped from $800 to $200 in 15 years due to privatization and technology improvements
  • Relevance Why does rural India want network access? Fundamental systems work differently (e.g. cash based economy) Lots of diversity in Indian language, environment, literacy and economy. Lifestyle is different and generally slower. Kiosk model is fine. Lack of awareness of technical possibilities
  • Infrastructure Power-outages normal for 6-8 hours a day 15% of villages have network coverage

The challenges and the business opportunities imply some research activities:
Education Services:language skills, distance learning, skill development
Health Care services:remote diagnostics,census, education
E-Gov:data management (census info), bill payment
Financial Services:Banking, micro-finance

Case Studies: Kiosk operator in remote village started a kiosk with a micro-loan. Children are learning IT/English, agriculture, veterinarian and medical remote consults are successful and profitable. Kiosk operator is motivated to find the new market opportunities for the kiosk which will make her customers money.

Conclusion: ROI is insufficient using current products - needs paradigm shift

Posted by djp3 at May 25, 2004 11:09 AM | TrackBack (0)
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