Thursday, July 23, 2009

India is paying attention to the need for rural broadband

I just saw this abstract on for a paper titled "Planning for Rural Broadband Coverage: The Ultimate Bridge Across the Indian Rural-Urban Digital Divide."
This article highlights the fact that broadband connectivity holds the promise to transform the lives of rural Indians. Universal access to broadband would not only bridge the digital divide but also help to overcome the infrastructural constraints such as lack of roads, market access, health and education facilities that commonly plague rural areas. Further, broadband connectivity can bring convenient access to specialized knowledge and government services to rural folk. All this would go a long way towards mainstreaming rural India and reducing its chronic deprivation and isolation. While substantiating the above conviction with examples and negating the doubts of naysayers, the author describes various government schemes to bring about ICT connectivity and benefits of broadband to rural populations. Universal Service Obligation Fund of India (USOF) and the Department of IT are in the implementing schemes in this direction. The author goes on to analyse USOF’s past efforts and draw lessons from the same for the envisaged rural broadband scheme, apart from touching upon the possibility of learning from other countries experiences and adapting the same into a scheme for the fibre-based ICT connectivity for rural India.
Of course, the need for rural broadband is getting some attention in the U.S., too. Read posts here and here. The attention is not always positive, the positions taken not always supportive of digital infrastructure for rural folks; see here.

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