India needs 100 million broadband connections, says Pitroda


New Delhi: National Knowledge Commission chairman Sam Pitroda Wednesday said India needs around 100 million broadband connections and the government is focused on connecting 250,000 panchayats across the country through broadband.

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“We have today about 10 million broadband connections for a country of a billion people, which is no good. Ideally this country needs 100 million broadband connections. If I say 100, even 80 or 70 million is good enough,” Pitroda, who is also known as father of India’s telecom revolution, said,

Interacting with women journalists at their club here, Pitroda said he hopes that the number of broadband connections will reach 100 million in five years’ time.

“We don’t have concrete timetable right now. We all are working on it. But we are first focused on connecting 250,00 panchayats through broadband now. Because that is the nerve centre of our decentralised governance,” Pitroda added.

He is also an advisor to the prime minister on public information, infrastructure and innovations.

Asked if rural India is ready for technological change, he said: “If Bangalore is the back office of America, rural India should be the back office of urban India.”

Giving an example, he said why should 20,000 clerks work in Delhi or other cities to file insurance claims, why can’t that be done online by people in rural India.

“There are lot of young kids in rural India who are equally smart. Don’t underestimate their talent. I think rural India is ready, we have not given them connectivity. You give them connectivity, you move a lot of back offices to rural India. It will happen,” he added.

He added: “Next decade is going to be the most important decade in putting institutions and infrastructures related to information systems in place to be able to take advantage of a connected billion people.”