Rural India On-Line
EDITED BY C.N. ANAND
Women lead rural India's internet rush
Asha Sanjay, of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Madras that established the scheme, says that while in some places people are not able to get a bus to the next village, the net allows them to connect to the world.
Consultation just a Click Away!
It is easier to set up an excellent telecommunication infrastructure, than to place medical specialists in suburban and rural India.
Drive to Familiarize Rural Areas With IT
Two of India's reputed IT firms rolled out a campaign in Jaipur Thursday to familiarize and enthuse rural people about the benefits of information and communications technology (ICT) for socio-economic empowerment.
Rolling Hotspots Bring Wi-Fi to Rural Areas
When the vehicle rolls into town, the town computer's Internet connection roars to life and a suite of news-related pages are updated.
Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's message
The President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has said that the seven hundred million people living in the rural areas need an unique rural development model called PURA(Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) which envisages provision of three connectivities namely physical connectivity, electronic connectivity and knowledge connectivity leading to economic connectivity.
Google logs into rural India
Google is also betting heavily on the mobile platform (as PC penetration is low) and plans to introduce services like Google Talk (instant chat application), and Google Maps through tie-ups with Indian mobile operators.
BPO operations head into rural India
There is a big cost advantage to a company locating in rural areas because the infrastructure costs are low. We believe there are 80 to 90 million people that could be trained to take care of the back-office needs of the entire world.
Biometric ATMs for rural India
Establishing the identity of a rural depositor through biometrics makes it possible for illiterate or barely literate folks to become part of the banking user community.
SMS Servers Replacing PCs in India
They ran an experiment replacing a PC based system for helping a rural sugarcane cooperative with a mobile phone based system. The new mobile system replicates almost all of the PC based functionality. It is cheaper, adds additional functionality and is more popular. It is believed to be the first project of its kind in developing regions where an entire PC setup has been replaced with mobile phones.
Mobile villagers climb social ladder
Ahmed’s father was a beggar. Today, the unlettered 19-year-old from Badaun sells watermelons and manages a net seasonal profit of around Rs 8,000. “My mobile has helped me optimise sales" he says
TCS, Qualcomm Woo Rural India
A system is under development which will use soil sensors to monitor moisture content and salinity. The data will be transferred to a central server via a mobile phone so the data is linked to a particular farmer. Experts can then access specific data and advise the farmer on the kinds of crops that are ideally suited to his or her patch of land.
Gateway to prosperity
Jhunjhunwala said, "We formed Tenet with the objective of taking IIT students to the next level. We also decided to focus on rural areas, where 700 million of India's 1.1 billion people still live. We're trying to show that innovation can happen in our own markets. In doing so, we're coming up with new ideas to help the nation."
Grassroots problems, web-enabled solutions
IT-rural.com guides farmers on sowing suitable varieties of seeds of crops in demand, current trends and prevailing prices in the neighbourhood. Forward and backward linkages with financial institutions and buyers are also enabled.
BPOs in rural India
Sharmila pursuing her MBA program through distance education is barely out of her teens and is already an entrepreneur. She runs a rural based BPO facility.
India tests biofuel for rural wireless
Biofuels are on trial as a fuel to power cellular networks in rural India. Local operator Idea Cellular, Ericsson and the GSM Association have set up a pilot in Pune to power mobile base stations that are off the electricity grid.
Indian Railways Going Wi-Fi
All Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains would soon be equipped with wireless Internet service to enable passengers access Internet while on the move. 500 stations to be wi-fied in three years.
Rural India going Wi-Fi
At present, hybrid Wi-Fi and WiMAX deployments are bringing broadband connectivity to previously unconnected rural and urban areas. Moreover, dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular handsets are eyed to bring higher-throughput Internet connectivity to the country's citizens who do not own computers.
Mobile communication is revolutionizing economic and social development in rural India
Mobile phone ownership in India is growing rapidly, six million new mobile subscriptions are added each month and one in five Indian's will own a phone by the end of 2007. By the end of 2008, three quarters of India's population will be covered by a mobile network. Many of these new "mobile citizens" live in poorer and more rural areas with scarce infrastructure and facilities, high illiteracy levels, low PC and internet penetration.
DoT Eyes Increased Broadband Penetration
Secretary DoT and chairman Telecom Commission said, "Our key priorities are network expansion in rural areas, indigenous telecom equipment manufacturing, increased penetration of broadband services and making available sufficient spectrum for growth of network"
Times of India
Enabling Eye Care in Rural India
At an eye care clinic in Bodinayakannur, a rural village in South India, a 64-year-old man and a computer technician sit in front of a PC screen, consulting with a doctor in a hospital in Theni, 9 miles away. “Everyone said to get a checkup here,” says the man. “They said I could talk straight to a doctor through the TV.”
Ministry of Rural Development
A site maintained by the Government of India giving the initiatives taken to alleviate poverty.
Ministry of rural develpment
e-governance in India
This site provides e-governance initiatives at the national and global levels and those developed by the Ministry of Information Technology, including steps taken by various ministries, departments and states in the area of e-governance.
e-governance in India
BPO work travels to Tamil Nadu village
What appears to be a typical rural and traditional house from outside is actually nurturing a silent revolution.
Information Kiosks in Rural India
Drishtee is a platform for rural networking and marketing services for enabling e-governance, education, and health services.
e-governance in India
The last couple of years have seen e-governance drop roots in India. IT enables the delivery of government services as it caters to a large base of people across different segments and geographical locations.
Enabling e-commerce in rural India
He had slides with ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of a goat that had a wound near its mouth that got cured within two days of videoconferencing.
Internet can transform rural India
For the first time, a product developed in India has made waves in the world market.
Women lead rural India's internet rush
80% of these new kiosks are run by women, many of whom have had very little or no acquaintance with technology before.
Indian Villagers Pedal Wireless
This month, 5,000 young men on bicycles carrying mobile phones equipped with CDMA Wireless Local Loop will ride into 5,000 West Bengal villages. Not only will the endeavor provide these men with a steady source of income -- they keep 25 percent of profits from all calls made -- but they will also bring telephone services to village doorsteps for the first time.
Computers for the Third World
The simputer is a handheld device designed for rural villagers
'Computer on Wheels' delivers web to rural India
Villagers in rural southern India are getting their first taste of the internet, via motorbike courier.
India tackles the digital divide
HP Labs India, which was set up in Bangalore earlier this year by Palo Alto, California, Hewlett-Packard Co., is developing products appropriate for India's rural markets.
Taking Internet to rural India: A case study
Inhabitants of Pabal, a small village near Pune, will soon be connected to the rest of the world through the World Wide Web
Indian police network against crime
The southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has become the first in the country to install a state-of-the-art online police network.
India's e-village tackles corruption
What lessons can India learn from Israel?
Charting out a road map for ICTs4D in India
It is an article outlining the various rural IT ventures in India
A Village where IT is a way of life
Pathinettangudi some 35 km from Madurai, presents the look of just another underprivileged village. However, a silent IT revolution is brewing in the tiny hamlet where the illiterate farm workers use webcams, voice mail and e-mail regularly.
India's Tata Teleservices selects Gilat to provide 1,000-site satellite telephony network
Tarahaat is in the business of connecting up and providing content to rural India.
The company is working on Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH), rural convergence, National Long Distance Telephony (NLDT) and e-governance.
Qualcomm Invests $200M in Rural India Wireless Deal
n_Logue will be exposed to competition.
n-Logue: Connecting All Villages in India
by Dr. Bhaskar Ramamurthi
Published: March 14, 2002
Third world countries are bypassing the costly process of stringing copper wires by leaping to wireless connectivity. The groundbreaking Indian Institutes of Technologies created by India's first Prime Minister Jahawaral Nehru are applying the latest telecom tools to the poorest communities.
A founding member of the Telecommunications and Computer Networking Group (TeNeT) at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India, Dr. Ramamurthi reports on innovative technologies developed for a commercial spin-off to bring telephony and Internet connectivity to rural India.
Recently TeNeT group took an initiative to set up a company, n-Logue Communications Pvt. Ltd., with a charter to provide and operate telecom and Internet services in small towns and rural areas of India. The company would not carry out operation in urban areas, thus preventing dilution of its focus. The company believes that there is a large rural market in India for such services, though it has to be tapped differently from that in urban areas. The existing telecom operators have their business model tuned to urban areas of the country and are thus incapable of exploiting the rural market.
The company’s vision is “to significantly enhance the quality of life of every rural Indian by driving the digital revolution”. It thus recognizes that there is a strong need for such connectivity and that this has potential to significantly change the lives of rural people. It also recognizes that the services have to be driven and n-Logue has to take total responsibility for not just connectivity, but also for back-up power, access terminals and high quality service with relevant content and applications.
The company’s business model is scalable and sustainable and it is aimed at finally providing profit to its investors. It is based on two success stories of India ― the Subscriber Trunk Dialing Public Call Office (STD PCO) and cable TV. When telephones were not affordable to individual homes, PCOs in India brought telephony to urban middle and lower middle classes. The key was that these PCOs were owned by small entrepreneurs who sat at the booth and provided services for more than 18 hours a day, 365 days in a year. Building up on this entrepreneurship model, n-Logue plans to provide a telephone and Internet kiosk in every village. This kiosk would be operated by a local entrepreneur who would work to make a variety of services available to the villages. The kiosk consists of a corDECT wall-set with its accessories, a telephone and a telephone meter, a multimedia personal computer, power back up and Indian language software, and is made available to the entrepreneur at a total cost of $800. As bank loans and government assisted schemes to promote rural entrepreneurs are available, the kiosk operator needs to come up with less than $200 to set-up a kiosk. As the kiosk provides telephone and Internet services simultaneously (corDECT supports simultaneous telephony and a 35/70 kbps Internet connection), breakeven can be reached quickly.
For operational purposes n-Logue divides the country into service areas (operation units) corresponding approximately to a taluk (or county) with a radius of about 25 kms. Fortunately, 85% of taluk headquarters in India has optical fiber today which can provide the backbone for telecom and Internet connectivity. n-Logue sets up Access Center (consisting of a corDECT exchange, or DIU and Base Stations) at this town to provide wireless connections in a 25 km radius (using Relay Base Stations as required). The 2000 sq. kms that the Access Center covers typically has 300 to 400 villages in most areas in the plains of India. n-Logue plans to provide at least 500 connections in this area to individuals, government’s offices, schools, public health centers, and at least one kiosk operator in every village.
Learning from the cable-TV revolution in India, the n-Logue business model arranges partnering with a local business for each of the Access Center. This local business person needs to make an investment of the order of $25,000 and becomes a 50% partner in the venture. It is the local business person, the Local Service Provider (LSP), who carries out the operation of the Access Center, finds subscribers and connects them, maintains each connection and collects the telephone and Internet charges. N-Logue, besides investing and providing the equipment, provides training, stands behind the LSP and drives the business relationship with content providers. The LSP, like a cable TV operator, is a local small entrepreneur who can provide better face-to-face service in rural areas.
To break even, n-Logue has assumed only $0.50 per day of revenue from telephone call charges and Internet access charges from each of the 500 kiosks being served by an Access Center. The key is to keep the operating cost as low as possible, and partnering with the LSP ensures not only better service to customers but also lower operation costs.
N-Logue plans to install one million connections covering 85% of India’s rural areas in the next 4 to 5 years. To provide telephones and Internet services in rural areas, n-Logue needs an Internet service provider license and a telecom license. N-logue already has an all-India ISP license. To provide telecom services, n-Logue is tying up with the Basic Service Operators (BSNL or the private ones) in each state.
The key to success is not just connectivity, but Internet content. N-Logue is not a content provider, but ties up with a whole range of content providers. In every state, it ties up will the state government to drive e-governance applications so that rural citizen can access the government services from the kiosks. It ties up with the rural development ministry to push programs for rural development, and the agricultural ministry to bring agricultural services to the farmer. It also ties up with fertilizers and pesticide manufacturers, farm machinery manufacturers, and businesses which procure agricultural produce, not only to enable commercial activity, but also to provide training. It is attempting to bring to the rural areas all kinds of education and training using these kiosks and would work to enhance the provision of health services and veterinary services to people. It works with NGOs to enable rural people to accessall kinds of micro finance and banking services. It would tie up with insurance companies and FMCG companies to access rural markets using Internet services. But above all, n-Logue hopes to bring jobs and services to rural areas. A person with a computer and an Internet connection can do remote jobs for those in cities, and even if few such jobs can be created in each village, it would make a significant difference.
All this has to be, of course, done largely in the local languages. TeNeT group has promoted a company, “Chennai Kavigal.” which has developed a complete office package consisting of word processing, spreadsheet, database, mail client, browser and a drawing package in a few Indian languages. Other Indian languages will be incorporated shortly. It provides the package to n-Logue for deployment in rural areas at a very nominal price. TeNeT group is working to make the PCs in these kiosks work on Linux open-source platforms and is driving a number of applications.
N-Logue has already started operations, deployed several Access Centers and is expanding rapidly. Soon the connections would be available in several districts including Nellikuppam and Madurai in TamilNadu, Dhar in M.P., Sangrur in Punjab, Baramati in Maharastra, Bagru in Rajasthan, Agra district in U.P. and a few districts in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. N-Logue plans to step up its operation to “a taluk a day”, so that each day one taluk could be made operational.\\
The role of technology in telecom expansion in India
High tech solutions to rural connectivity are outlined by Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Bhaskar Ramamurthi and Timothy A. Gonsalves, TeNet's founding team.
As appearing in IEEE Communications Magazine
Unleashing Telecom and Internet in India
Text of a presentation by Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, IIT Madras at the India Telecom Conference at Stanford University in November 2000.
Presentation Text | Slides [1 MB PDF]
n-Logue needs just Rs 50 cr to bridge digital divide
Web kiosks for India's villagers
n-Logue in franchising pact for rural connectivity
Will community access help to spread the Net in India?
The Net in India has come a long way from 1995 when VSNL offered public Net access for the first time.
India to see highest Internet growth in the Asia-Pacific region
From 2001 to 2005, India is expected to enjoy an average Internet subscriber growth of 44 per cent a year, the report said.
A 1999 research project finds pent-up rural demand for online information.
International Development Research Centre
Mobile-to-mobile STD tariffs halved
Mobile STD now cheaper than wireline. Basic operators expected to retaliate.
M.I.T.'s Lincos Project
A Costa Rican initiative projects the benefits of "little intelligent communities."
M.I.T. Media Lab