Sunday, May 8, 2011

Telecom and Inclusive growth

Being in the telecom industry for almost 9 years now I have been fortunate enough to see the industry evolve from being provider of some services of desires to being the necessity and a pillar of infrastructure in the country’s development and this, who could have imagined would have been realized in a span of 12 years since the telecom industry was privatized. Today, however, my article is not about glorifying this industry but to actually bring about the dark side of the development of technologies involved in this industry. People may opine this to be a kind of betrayal or on a soft note a personal censure but today it is important for us, the urban population, to know as to when to stop.

Years ago a voice call used to be a matter of luxury. There were no mobile phones and there were only the fixed wire phones, that too, not in all houses. This was the symbol of an under-developed country.Today, almost everybody has a cell-phone. Every person is reachable. Every person can be tracked. You have Wi-Fi, 3G, video calling and what not to communicate and entertain yourself but still there seems to be a kind of restlessness in the urban population. So much development; so much technical innovation; but just one thing to ask; how much of it is actually necessary today. Today a person has a cell-phone, a laptop with wireless LAN, internet, video calling, live-TV connectivity, interactive television and what not but the statistics say that the same urban person is far away from his family, his parents, and his relatives. The social circle that he maintains is on facebook with 300 friends on an average 293 of them he never meets. The urban youth prefers to surf the you-tube on his mobile or laptop rather than going out and exploring the world.

Our communication industry is exploding, growing day by day. Technologies are being upgraded day by day but for whom, only for the urban population who are actually developed and need less of such development. The reach of this technology upgradation is only limited to 20% of the population of this country. People in the villages who actually dominate around 50% of our economy are still not aware, or rather not made aware of the advantages that these technologies can do for them. Statistics say today that the usage of internet is actually for the following purposes.

60% ------ for Pornographic and adulterated material.
15% ------ For online gaming
3% -------- For E-Commerce
10% ------- For entertainment content download and social networking.
2%--------- For study purposes.
10% ------- For communications like e-mail, chat and live talk.

Thus to see the least the largest chunk of the BW is actually being used for the most frugal kind of activities. Does this actually mean development? We have actually ushered in a bandwidth evolution but we have failed to actually guide people as to how to constructively use this bandwidth. The major part of this bandwidth is being not used in the proper way. A day will come when everybody will have a satellite atop their heads but still the usage of bandwidth would be for unscrupulous ways.

The solution is also very simple. While we provide bandwidth and this should not stop at any cost, there should be a kind of group that actually educates people how to efficiently use this bandwidth for their own upliftment and development of the nation.
There should be focus on the rural market, as this is the population that would use this bandwidth and rise to the occasion to develop this country. I know that there would be fear or ROI, but hey, somebody will have to take this risk. Somebody will have to do this. Because if this works out fine the ROIs would be four-fold from what the company actually gets from the urban market. There should be innovative ideas in service provisioning for the rural masses to make this technology affordable for the rural people. As the affordability increases the purchasing power will increase initially. Now as the sales go high, albeit with low margins initially with the help of innovative services this in an effect raises the bar of living for the rural masses.

This would now raise the demand even more from the rural market and ROIs will keep on coming for the companies in a better ratio that they actually come in the urban market. This would be rise in sales without increasing much of pressure on the sales staff and also evolving people in the way. This calls for a development that is inclusive and more comprehensive in nature. There would be rise in demand due to genuine reason; no demand will have to be created because now the technology has already caught the right pulse. The companies prosper, the people develop, the economy grows and in some ways the urban population also benefits. This can be the story of inclusive growth through communications.

So today as communication upgradation becomes necessary even more necessary is actually to educate the people how to use this technology. How to channelize this technology in the proper way so as to give maximum impetus to the communication business as well as development of the country at large.

1 comment:

  1. wonderful post!
    what i like is you have not only pointed out the problem but also provided a solution!

    have given a +1