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 IT, telecom cos join hands with Centre to 'Connect Indians'

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PostSubject: IT, telecom cos join hands with Centre to 'Connect Indians'   30/08/08, 02:41 pm

Aiming to put one billion people on to the information superhighway, the Centre on Thursday joined hands with leading IT and telecom companies for popularising low cost desk-top access devices which can be used to browse the internet.



The basic computing device that uses Intel’s new low-cost, low-power chip “Atom”, will cost Rs 5,000 and the most basic complete system comprising the monitors, key board and accessories will cost between Rs 7000-Rs 9000, depending on the vendor, features and services.

While HCL, Wipro, Zenith, Acer, Lenovo and LG will manufacture low-cost access devices, BSNL, Reliance and Tata are responsible for creating nation-wide board band connectivity.

“Initially, the target is to connect 500 million Indians to the internet with more than 1000 million broadband connections and 100 million enabled devices by 2012,” union IT and communications minister A Raja said here while launching the “Connected Indian” initiative.



Thirteen years after internet was introduced in India, there are now 77 million internet users and four million broadband connections.

Pointing out that nearly 70 per cent of the country was bypassed in the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution, Raja said an affordable net connection would appeal strongly to the citizens.

NIIT has been roped in to launch courses on internet education and computer fundamentals so that those who were not formally trained on computers can access the net.

Besides the low-cost basic devices, a whole range of Nettops and Netbooks using Atom – slightly lower priced than regular laptops and desktops yet good enough for home applications – will be launched by the original equipment manufacturers as a part of this initiative. “Some products are expected before Diwali,” said an Intel official.

Priced between Rs 14,000 and 21,000, these products with higher price will have different hard disk with more storage space, excess RAM, different chipset and other features which will not be available with the basic device.
While individual companies took some efforts in the last few years to bring down the cost of computers below Rs 10,000, this is probably the first concerted effort involving multiple partners to make internet access and computing far more accessible.

State-owned BSNL will share the primary responsibility of taking broadband to the door steps. “At the moment, our 23,000 telephone exchanges have broadband. We plan to provide it to all exchanges,” said BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goel.

BSNL will roll out WMAX service in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh by the end of 2008.

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