One may think of governments as only a legal governing body of a particular geographical location; however, India illustrates firm like qualities as it seeks to expand technology to produce capital from its large human resource in hopes of fulfilling the country’s economic goals as well as societal goals. BBC News showcases India’s attempts to use IT to further the Indian peoples and technology innovation. The article titled “'Digital India' Lags Behind in World Internet Race” focuses on India’s goal to create a “6,000km-long National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) to connect cities, towns and 150,000 postal offices by December 2016 at an estimated cost of over $18bn” (Ranjan). This blog commentary will highlight three major aspects of India’s project going forward, and it will underline three important considerations to understanding India that may not be obvious to a reader.
The article captures the current matrix for which the National Fibre Network is going to develop within. There are three factors to be cognizant of: government partnership with India’s telecommunication firms, Mbps speeds in India versus South Korea, and the impacts or the empowerment of the Indian population in rural areas. It is noted in the article that the government is having trouble getting businesses to invest in this technology innovation; moreover, it shows businesses may not feel secure enough or ready to accomplish this task. Ranjan mentions India as the third country with the most amount of people on the internet as well as megabits per second (mbps) in comparison to nearby developed countries: “It has an average speed of 1.5 to 2 mbps, while developed Asian countries like South Korea and Japan enjoy speeds of 14.2 and 11.7 mbps respectively.” While India can be considered a “digital country” because of the amount of internet users, Japan and South Korea with small populations are more technologically advanced. Under those circumstances of this 6,000km-long National Fibre Network being built, India has a formidable challenge that would ultimately positively impact or empower “over 68% of India's population, living in rural areas” (Ranjan). However, the reader should note that India’s rural area has a lot of illiterate citizens and very few have completed a high school education. This calls into question the adaptability of this project to the end users. While the project does incorporate an e-education and e-government facet, the people would require assistance in first harnessing the technology to learn and communicate with the government via NOFN.
Now consider three things not elaborated on in the article: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, technology jobs outsourced to India, and alternatives to a national fibre network. Readers should look primarily at Mr. Modi to understand the reasoning behind this project, and especially his recent campaign in Silicon Valley to persuade tech companies to endorse his vison of “i-ways” (Lee).
Lee, Dave. "Highways and 'i-ways': How Modi Wooed Silicon Valley - BBC News." BBC News. BBC, 28 Sept. 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.<http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34376984>
Ranjan, Akhil. "'Digital India' Lags behind in World Internet Race - BBC News." BBC News. BBC, 26 Sept. 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34356300>.