A little while back, Rajesh Jain had run a “Big Idea for India” contest. He has touched on many issues in his previous posts; there was a lack of serious debate on Broadband. This contest was open to all; I had mailed my entry to Rajesh on his email.
He had received over 150 responses for the same.
Jain announced the winners recently; in which yours truly has also figured (the names are in an random order). The contest was judged by Jain and Atanu Dey (whose blog is linked to in the blog roll in side bar). Of course, he has been a huge influence in shaping up my thought process and I owe a lot to him.
The post, in it’s entirety follows here. For the regular readers, there is nothing new because I have already touched on these issues in the previous posts extensively.
This is one answer and highly underrated option. The following scenario is envisaged:
1) Optic fibres running across to get the data without caps. We need fibre to home instead of outdated copper. Last mile access is contentious; while opening up last mile for private players is contentious, this needs to be debated. Britain has opened it up under strict regulations and British Telecom has been forced to upgrade it’s infrastructure to retain customers.
2) Heavy public investment for scalable architechture. Not 3G guzzling up spectrum but community Wifi’s (pay per use or perhap involving the municipalities making the people accountable directly for the level of involvement).
3) Create an ecosystem of open source applications to harness ideas; make it easier for people to access services. (Open Source standards promote interoperability; closed source is meant for perpetual profiteering at public’s expense).
4) Opening up the Government’s accumulated data through API’s etc; create models around it. For e.g., data from GPS installed in public transport would easily display the estimated arrival time through SMS if needed on the mobile phones. (“Hacker culture” is missing in India; most of the Bangalore flotsam is moronic army of debuggers and script kiddies).
5) Teleconferencing would make it easier for people to people contacts; Gujarat has shown the way! Why can’t India have something similar to Skype? (There is a move to have something similar in the GNU world where encryption would be based on open standards).
6) Education sector would get a boost; not only invite faculty, stream educational videos, hold tele-sessions but teach kids for a wonderful world of Internet. (Pilot experiments in Bihar/Gujarat have been well received; the idea needs scaling up).
7) Spin off benefits from e-commerce applications.
The potential is huge; if you are planning it to share with BJP, the easiest way out is to break the ISP‘s monopoly, hold TRAI responsible for execution (not DoT) and revise Broadband definition to at least 2 Mbps (UNLIMITED, WITHOUT any caps).