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Internet in India sample essay

We live in an age of information. Today information is power. Those who have it are powerful and those who don’t have it are powerless. The rise of internet as a tool for information and information, in the last decades of the twentieth century has changed the power balances on this globe. The twenty first century has begun with the most populous countries on this world, India and China adopting the internet technology very fast. These two countries share almost 40% of the population on this globe, and the pattern in which they have adopted internet is surely leading them to become super powers in future.

This essay discusses how internet has developed in India, what are the reasons behind this development and what could be the future implications of the current status of internet in India. The Beginning In the middle of 1980s, India had a young Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who understood the importance of government policies favoring information technology.

He managed to hire services of USA based Indian technocrat, Sam Pitroda, for improvement of the communication scene in India. The foundation stone for a revolution was laid then. While working on the telecommunication aspects, the government realized the fact that internet can be powerful democratizing force, offering greater economic, political, and social participation to communities that have traditionally been underserved- and helping developing nations meet their pressing needs. ( internet growth ).

Subsequently, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL), the government agency responsible for telecommunications in India, launched the internet in the year 1995.

It was perceived by the government of India that internet would be helpful in the following ways : 1. Open dialogue – The low cost networking would facilitate knowledge sharing, awareness of alternate perspectives and allow more open exchanges. 2. Improve governance – To raise the efficiency of the government by making it more transparent and enabling more public participation. 3. Improve social and human rights condition – Expand access to better quality education, health car, disaster relief capacity and other services.

4. Reduce poverty : Open new avenues and opportunities for income generation for the bypassed groups like women, rural people etc. 5. Introduce more economic opportunities – Through Ecommerce, and other applications of the internet, many new earning opportunities can be created. 6. Improve environmental management – through GIS, early warning systems and various other applications, the environment can be better managed. ( Internet growth) The government also rightfully perceived the emerging globalization phenomenon since 1980s.

It was right in believing that if the nation had to survive in this scenario, giving information access to the public is a must, and behind internet, the facilities attached with it, like E-governance, E-Commerce and E-learning are also bound to come. For the first four years, VSNL had the monopoly to provide internet services and was the sole service provider. This monopoly was withdrawn in November 1998, and the field opened up for the private service providers. The terms were very liberal. There was no license fee and unlimited players were allowed to take part.

Private ISPs were allowed to fix their own tariffs and set their own gateways also. The department of Telecom (DOT) has issued licenses to almost 100 ISPs in category ‘A’, which is for All India operations, and 220 each for category ‘B’ and ‘C’, which is for metros and state level circles, and medium and small cities, respectively. Out of these, about 184 ISPs have started their operations. ( Internet growth ). Government Initiatives The government of India has laid primary focus on development of internet in India.

Some of the measures taken by it, to freely promote the use of internet are ; 1. Formulation of National telecom policy in 1999. Its target is to provide internet services to all district headquarters by 2002. 2. Provide license to private ISPs without any license fee up to October 2002. A token fee of Re. 1 ( 2 cents) per annum, to be levied from November 2003.

3. There is no restriction on the number of ISPs in all categories. 4. ISPs are given permission to set up international gateways by having business arrangement with Foreign Satellites Providers, and collaborators. 5. ISPs permitted to provide last mile access using radio and fiber optics. 6. ISPs also permitted to provide service through cable TV infrastructure /operators 7.

Initiated an ambitious plan to develop National Internet Backbone (NIB). 8. Adopted the Information Technology act, a law recognizing electronic transactions and thus providing legal frame work for E-commerce in India 9. Internet telephony services opened up to private service providers from 1 April 2002

( Internet growth ) Fats and figures The internet industry in India, can be described in the following table in a nut-shell: ISP licences issued Appx. 540 ISPs operational Appx. 185 Cities/towns covered Appx. 340 Internet subscribers Appx. 3. 3 million Cyber cafes/ public access kiosks Appx. 12000 In principle approval for setting up international gateways Appx.

45 ISPs Operational gateways by 8-9 ISPs 40 + Total estimated investment by ISPs Rs, 6000 crores Estimated investment in equipments By ISPs Rs. 2500 crores Estimated employment provided ( direct/ indirect ) 1. 1 lac ( Internet growth ) primary source : Internet services providers association of India.

The Internet Growth in India During the initial years, when VSNL had a monopoly on this business, the growth rate was very slow, but no sooner private players were allowed, the growth in internet subscribers was substantial, as proved from the following table : Month/year subscriber base ( million ) August 1995 0.

01 March 1996 0. 05 March 1997 0.09 March 1998 0. 14 March 1999 0. 28 March 2000 0. 90 March 2001 3. 00 March 2002 3. 30 ( Internet Growth ) primary source : Internet services providers association of India Research results Some interesting results are also available from a research study conducted by Larry.

Press, William Foster, Peter Wolcott and William McHenry, on the subject of comparison between the internet status in China and India. This paper was published in ‘ First Monday ‘, a Peer reviewed journal on the internet. The authors used a six dimensional framework which characterizes the state of internet in a nation. These are :

1. Pervasiveness : This parameter indicates the number of internet users per capita. 2. Geographic dispersion : This measure the concentration of internet within a nation from none or a single city to nationwide availability. 3. Organizational structure : This is a measure based on the state of the ISP industry and market conditions 4.

Connectivity Infrastructure : This is based on domestic and international backbone bandwidth, exchange points and last mile access methods 5. Sectoral absorption – This is a measure of degree of internet utilization in education, business, health care and public sectors. These sectors are seen as key to development and were suggested by the United Nations Development Program.

( UNDP) Human development Index. 6. Sophistication of use – This measure ranks the usage from conventional to highly sophisticated and driving innovation. A conventional nation would be using Internet as substitute for other media like telephone and fax. Pervasiveness India needs to improve upon the following aspects to score more on the Interrnet pervasiveness factor. – With GDP per capita of $ 2358 and a dial-up tariff of $15. 75 per month for 30 hours usage, internet is still unaffordable to most of the Indian population.

– With a tele density of 3. 6 in the year 2000, India ranks 145th on a global scale. This has to go up. – Electricity, personal computers and networking equipments are also expensive in India. There are estimated 6 million PCs in India. The equipment cost needs to come down. – Literary rate of India is rather poor at 52%. The secondary school enrollment rate is 39% and mean years of schooling for those who are 15 years and above is only 5. 1 % . Internet cannot spread unless the user is literate.

– India has a large population which is very well conversed with English, which is the language mostly used in internet also. This works to India’s advantage. Geographic dispersion Reaching remote villages in the countryside is one of the major hindrance. Most of India’s population lives in villages. The huge investment required for Internet to become accessible from remote villages, is not justified. Low earth orbiting IP satellite technology may solve this problem in future, not only for India but many other developing nations also.

Here Indian efforts are commendable. The ministry for Information technology has a working group on Information Technology for Masses that issued a report recommending about 56 actions in infrastructure and service, electronic governance, education and raising mass IT awareness in October 2000. Organizational infrastructure Largely due to a very complex political structure it is difficult to formulate and implement policies in India. The complexities are further enhanced by the law and judiciary system, government inefficiencies, and corruption.

The organizational infra structure can be further improved upon, if these bottlenecks are removed. Connectivity infrastructure The key determinants to connectivity infrastructure are trade policy and other factors which encourage investment and the availability of skilled work force. India will see increase in trade as it implements its IT plans. India is also an early mover in software exports, which totaled to 8. 26 billion in 2001. The expatriate trained work force in Europe and United States is also playing a role in growth of internet in India.

Most of them have formed joint ventures or set up subsidiaries, back home. This surely enhances the use of internet. Sectoral Absorption The schools and colleges of India have started using the internet on a wide scale, but there is considerable scope for improvement. E-governance and increase in trade will see increased use of internet in future, in India. The relative freedom of states in India is the determining factor here. In the health sector internet is hardly used.

Sophistication of use Almost 70% of Indian population lives in villages. If Internet can improve rural education, health care, entertainment, news, economy etc. , the flow of people to the crowded cities can be diminished. India has several projects pursuing village connectivity, but there has not been widespread deployment. ( Press Larry, Foster William, Wolcott Peter & McHenry William ) The ISPs in India There are 183 ISPs in India in total. Out of these, those who have the All India license are as follows : ISPs having all-India licence include:

BSNL CMC RPG Infotech Essel Shyam Communications Sify Siti Cable Network Gateway Systems (India) World Phone Internet Services VSNL Guj Info Petro Hughes Escorts Communications Astro India Networks Reliance Primus Telecommunications India ERNET India RailTel Corporation Data Infosys GTL Jumpp India L&T Finance HCL Infinet Primenet Global Tata Internet Services Tata Power Broadband Bharti Infotel Pacific Internet India In2Cable (India) Reliance Engineering Associates BG Broad India Swiftmail Communications Estel Communication Bharti Aquanet Trak Online Net India Spectra Net Reach Network India i2i Enterprise.

Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Comsat Max Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers Corporation HCL Comnet Systems and Services Harthway Cable ( Indiaonestop ) The role of BSNL in development of Internet in India Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, ( BSNL) the apex body which looks after the telecomm sector in India, was formed in 2000 as a public enterprise. It is India’s largest communication service provider and offers services throughout India, except New Delhi and Bombay. On March 31 2007, it had a customer base of 33. 7 million wirelines, 3. 6 million CDMA-WLL and 27.

5 GSM mobile subscribers. The credit of making Internet popular and affordable to the people of India goes to BSNL. It pioneered in offering the broadband services to its customers, at a unbelievably low rates, under its ‘home’ and ‘business plans’. The cheapest home plan is slated at Rs. 250/- for a usage of 1 GB. This is in sharp contrast to the expensive dial-up networking where the charge was time based, and used to be very high. These plans have become so popular in a short span of 2 years or so, that today, BSNL is the biggest ISP with a market share of about 50%.

The Indian communications minister, Dayanidhi Maran, has declared the year 2007 as a ‘ year of broadband ’, and BSNL is targeting 5 million broadband connections by the end of the year 2007. BSNL has two major plans to be executed in the near future. One, to provide a speed of 2 Mb/sec on to all its broadband customers without any extra cost, and two, it is planning to upgrade its broadband services to triple play in 2007. Today, BSNL is India’s one of the largest PSU with a share capital of $ 3.

95 billion, and net worth of US $ 14. 32 billion. ( BSNL ) Most favored outsourcing hub – India The development of internet in India, has opened up many new venues. One of them is outsourcing of work to India. This trend started with outsourcing of medical transcription jobs, which later spread to database management, insurance and the financial sector. Today it has become an authentic hub which is most favored by all. India has got a new identity as a most favored nation for outsourcing.

This would have never been possible, without the fast, affordable spread of the internet in India. Of course, India also benefits from its proficiency in English and the perfect time synchronization with the USA and UK. The work hours of USA are night hours in India and vice-versa. The work hours of UK synchronizes with 3 p. m. to 11 p. m. in India. Hence, a file can be sent at the end of the day from UK or USA, work on it is carried out when UK and USA sleep, and the processed file is back to them , when they start their work on the next day. Conclusion Internet is a modern day technological tool, which has considerable advantages.

Development of Internet is related to increasing the number of people who can gain an access to it. It is a general assumption made by all, that if more and more people get an access to the Internet, the nation will automatically develop. All debates and research on this subject, is based on the number game. The basic question is : even if Internet is available to every one, will the development be automatic?

It has to be borne in mind that Internet is a potentially dangerous tool also, capable of ruining lives, especially of youngsters, if not handled judiciously. Exactly this is happening in India. The government has only concentrated on the number game, taking it for granted that it will be used judiciously for betterment. So far, the only good internet has done is to fill the pockets of the players in this game and provide earning opportunities to a negligible percentage of the population.

Any visible advantage to the nation, to the society or to the Indian culture is not witnessed at all. Another colossal mistake the government of India has made is, it has given importance to the IT sector, by bye passing other crucial areas like electric power, education, and health services. Including New Delhi, the capital India, compulsory daily power cuts are very regular !!! What to talk of other cities and the interiors? Hardly anything could be achieved, only by increasing the number of Internet users !

References 1.

Internet growth, key learnings from India, Retrieved on 12 May 07 from: < http://www. internetpolicy. net/principles/021122india-lessons. pdf > 2. Press Larry, Foster William, Wolcott Peter & McHenry William, The Internet in India and China, First Monday, a Peer -reviewed journal on the internet, retrieved on 12 May 07 from : < http://www. firstmonday. org/issues/issue7_10/press/ > 3. Indiaonestop, retrieved on 12 May 07 from : < http://indiaonestop. com/ISPS. htm> 4. BSNL, wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 8 May 2007, retrieved on 12 May 07 from: < http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/BSNL>.

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