Content, access to drive broadband

CIOL Bureau
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NEW DELHI: The two key issues that would drive broadband are the availability of the right content and the right technology to access that content. Speakers at the Ninth Annual Conference of PTC Foundation India deliberated upon the feasibility of broadband and the factor that would drive it. Shyamal Ghosh, Administrator of the USO Fund is of the opinion that users should find the content, which is relevant to their lives.


"My guess is that people at large in remote areas would find information related to health in their local language useful. Similarly government related information or paperwork should be made available online which would make a difference in the lifestyle of people," he added.

Reiterating his belief in market forces, Prithpal Singh, CMD of BSNL said, "It is not the requirement of broadband but making it available and marketing it properly that is going to drive the take off of broadband."

BSNL has been experimenting its broadband services by franchising the last mile to service providers to offer services like video on demand, high speed Internet access and video conferencing. The commercial deployment of the same is expected to be rolled out by the end of March.

A key issue raised by Shekhar Avasthy of IDC was that there has to be a consensus on the definition of broadband. "Since there is no standard definition, broadband means different things to different people and as time goes on, consumers can be taken for a ride since each service provider would have his own definition of broadband," said Avasthy.

E-learning is another activity, which is likely to drive the usage of broadband, felt Alok De of Hugh Software Systems (HSS). HSS, which has been dabbling with its huge e-learning initiative, believes that there needs to be a change in the mindset of the people in which the spirit of learning is fostered amongst people particularly professionals. "Learning needs to be looked upon as a life-long activity which is an entire paradigm change in thinking and outlook," said De.

The issue that now remains is how to tap the end consumer. Rajiv Gupta, Business Development Manager at Cisco Systems brings out a different perspective. The broadband experience can also be best leveraged by the cable systems, and that it would be infotainment that would propel the take-off.

Sample this, he said, "The cable TV industry outgrew the telephone industry in a decades time because of the entertainment value of the content. People are willing to experiment new services through the cable because it is not seen as an essential service. My guess is that consumers would not like to experiment new service over the telephone lines because it has become central to their existence."