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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Broadband , Digital Capability & India : The Game Changer -Part 1

Courtesy of Contentsutra, I came across this perspective from Bill Gates on the need for India to increase broadband penetration, as this is the key to realize the benefits of the digital lifestyle products spanning segments such as music, Internet, home entertainment, gaming, wireless and video devices. As he sees it, though software was the glue that connected various devices and platforms, it was broadband that was needed to achieve the digital capability & that adding investments in broadband would drive the full realisation of digital lifestyle. He rightly highlights that broadband was pervasive in many countries but in India with just a million connections, the growth was not quite much in terms of penetration. Over three years, India needs to raise the broadband connections to about 10 million and even skyrocket it by reducing the prices. He sees IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), as changing the face of television viewing using broadband. Microsoft is increasing investments to build digital platforms besides trying to drive down the cost of the digital lifestyle products to make them more affordable. He rightly points out that the Indian software developers to play a key role in building new applications. As I see it, Microsoft has made substantial forays in building solutions towards the digital home business. No wonder he has brought this up in his reent trip to India - but besides microsoft's interests, it is a messsage that India really needed to listen to and act upon - fast at that.
India currently has 55 million mobile subscribers.I wrote sometime back that Microsoft has strategised well about its moves in the consumer electronics sector. This blog covered recently digital convergence in living room wherein we covered, inspired by a residential consumer electronics market that is potentially several times larger and more lucrative than the PC business, armies from at least ten different tech-related industries—including PC makers, CE makers, cable companies, telcos, utilities, media companies and software developers—have amassed here in the desert to plan their assaults on the living rooms of the world. It is also true that despite being a global software hub and having a billion-plus population, the Internet penetration in India is only 0.4 per cent, while broadband is 0.02 per cent.
Part II shall follow.

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