Rural Development

Taking Broadband and WiFi to where it doesnt Go [Hint: Rural areas]

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Future of Gov

Big Telecom always runs behind big money. Telecom companies are not interested to provide voice or data services in rural areas due to various reasons. That is the reason the Government of India brought in the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) to cross subsidise rural service providers to cover the losses they make.

Reliance Jio was the first company to get pan India license to roll out 4G services and they choose 5000 towns in India covering 90% of the urban population and some 215,000 villages. Jio acquired pan-India airwaves in the 2300 MHz band four years ago but is yet to roll out services.

Reliance Jio is expected to launch services soon well ahead of the May 2015 deadline under licence conditions. Reliance Jio is said to be planning for services like live TV (Jio Play), video-on-demand (Jio World), Cloud-based sync and storage (Jio Drive), and video calls over 4G network and other apps.

In Ahmedabad, Gujarat Reliance jio rolled out 4G public wifi but doubts were raised about the actual speeds. The service was launched by the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi under the e-Nagar project. But the irony of the face is that with 150 KM (100 miles) of Ahmedbad even 2G connectivity is hard to come by. All free Wifi zones are highly urbanized areas or in restricted places like Airports and malls.

In India WiFi is available in all sorts of places except rural areas. The first step is always the urban area and rural areas receive step motherly treatment. The urban areas have multiple access options for internet, while the rural areas are left with no option. That is why in Mexico the Talea De Castro, a rural community set up its own mobile network.

It took the country 10 years to go from 10 million Internet users to 100 million Internet users. Now the country is adding five million new Internet users every month. India now has over 200 million Internet users. This year the number ofInternet users in India will surpass that of U.S. and it will be 500 million by 2018, most of it is likely to be urban users than rural users.

Hon. PM Narendra Modi spelt out a vision for Digital India from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, 2014 in his Independence Day speech. Digital India project’s main aim is to “transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy”.

Nine growth areas identified under Digital India are:

  1. Broadband highways to connect all villages and cities of India
  2. Everywhere mobile connectivity; wherein mobile coverage will be provided to every nook and corner of India
  3. Public Internet Access Program wherein internet accessibility to the web will be provided at subsidized rates (example public WiFis)
  4. eGovernance in every government department, wherein 100% paper-less environment will be encouraged
  5. e-Kranti, wherein government services would be electronically delivered
  6. Information for All policy (which includes provisioning of Right to Information using the Internet as a medium)
  7. Electronics manufacturing
  8. IT for Jobs
  9. Early harvest program

Government of India spelt out a vision of providing fibre optic connectivity to 250,000 village by 2017. But the ambitious National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) is already facing trouble when companies like BSNL, Railtel and other backbone owners are reluctant to let out their excess capacity.

About a third of India’s 252 million internet users, and a fourth of mobile internet users, are in rural areas. But internet penetration in villages, at 8.6% compared to 37.4% in cities, has a long way to go, and this is the statistics Digital India hopes to change. Broadband in India is currently defined as a connection with a minimum download speed of 512 kilo bytes per second (kbps), and India’s broadband penetration is a lowly 2%. Broadband connected villages can transform the lives of people, connect them with livelihood opportunities and bridge the knowledge divide.

As per a World Bank report, a 10% increase in a country’s broadband connections leads to a 1.38% rise in its gross domestic product. This Rural-Urban divide and the Digital Divide has to be addressed quickly and with full force if we are to fully utilize the contribution of the Rural sector to the economy.

It is imperative to look into other options to make rural broadband and rural wifi as a profitable proposition in rural areas. There is a need to create new models of broadband access depending on local needs and resources. Left to the market forces the Broadband is not going to go all places that we want it to.

Can You survive on $1.25 per day – 1.4 Billion People do

Extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank as living on less than USD$1.25 a day. For those living in extreme poverty this needs to cover everything — food, health care, housing, education. This is the kind of poverty that leads to children dying for lack of a basic immunization or access to clean drinking water. This level of poverty is unjust and unnecessary. Extreme poverty is the greatest injustice facing our time. A world that sees over one billion surviving on less than USD$1.25 a day, deprived of their basic rights and opportunities, is unjust and unacceptable.

The last two decades have been the most successful in history in the fight against poverty: the share of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half worldwide, from 43% in 1990 to under 20% today. However, it is unacceptable that more than one billion people still live in extreme poverty. Ending extreme poverty in our lifetimes is a difficult but achievable goal. Now is the time to take action!
end extreme poverty by 2030

What can You do to End Extreme Poverty by 2030?

At the least you can Sign a Petition Online to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Tell the world what you can get for $1 in your place. Just take a picture of what you can get for $1 and post it on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram with #1dollar hashtag. It will be collected at the World Bank Social Hub for #1dollar.

Ask your friends to answer the #1dollar question on social media. Sample post:“What can you buy for #1dollar? More than 1 billion people live in extreme poverty. Post a photo of what you can buy for #1dollar in your country on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and tag it with #1dollar to help spread the word: it’s time to end povertyhttp://zeropoverty2030.org”

About Zero Poverty 2030 Campaign

Zero Poverty 2030 is a campaign run by Global Citizen, an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, in partnership with charities working to end extreme poverty #by2030.

Global Citizen is a learning and action tool designed to help you become a more effective agent for change. Developed in partnership with leading organizations working to fight extreme poverty in the developing world, Global Citizen brings everything you need to know about extreme poverty into one place, and then helps you keep track of the issues and opportunities you care about.

The Global Poverty Project is not-for-profit organization whose vision is much like yours: to live in a world without extreme poverty. We know that extreme poverty is an injustice that can be ended. And we’re working to make it happen by building a global movement for change. We’re working to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to end extreme poverty. We utilize the power of education, communication, advocacy, campaigns and the media to advance the movement to end extreme poverty. You can learn all about us – our history, track record, Annual Financial Review – on our website www.globalpovertyproject.com.

Together, we can raise awareness and end extreme poverty. We look forward to seeing your Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, and signatures.

Here are some of the things that you buy for #1Dollar around the world.

Visit the World Bank Social Hub for #1dollar to see more…..

What do you think $1 can buy?

 

 

 

Coming Soon – An Insurance Agent in Every Village of India

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) has issued new guidelines allowing insurers to use licensed Common Service Centres (CSCs) as distribution networks in rural areas. Insurance companies can market certain categories of retail policies through a special-purpose vehicle with the help of a Rural Authorised Person (RAP), who, in turn, will act as an insurance agent.

The RAPs will have to undergo 20 hours of mandatory training and register on the Learning Management System website. The online examination of RAPs will be conducted by the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology, which is an autonomous scientific society of the government’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology.

The CSC model is an initiative of the National e-Governance Plan and will operate in rural areas without access to internet. The plan provides services like e-governance, education and utility payments and works on the public-private partnership model.

Read More at http://m.financialexpress.com/news/rural-blitz/1166753/