The government is working towards pulling off a goal of 50 crore Internet connections by 2018, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today. Also Read - Porter takes advantage of free railway WiFi to realise civil services dream
“Last year, Internet service providers told me that we have got 30 crore Internet connections in India… my plan is by 2018, to make 50 crore Internet connections in India, that’s what we are working for,” Prasad said at an event here. “I am convinced that in the coming 2-3 years, India will become equal to China as an IT market of the world, I have no doubts about it,” the Minister said. On Internet connectivity, he pointed to India having surpassed the US and being second only to China. “We are a population of 1.2 billion plus, we are having 97.5 crore mobile phones in India, very soon we will touch 100 crore,” the Minister said. Also Read - India to have 50 crore Internet users by 2017, 31.4 crore on mobile: IAMAI
In order to provide broadband connectivity to all the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, the government is pushing ahead with the national optical fibre network (NOFN) project. NOFN aims to provide high-speed connectivity to the gram panchayats by December 2016 and the estimated cost of the project is around Rs 30,000 crore. As part of its initiatives to boost domestic manufacturing of electronics, the government is running Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) and Electronics Manufacturing Clusters Scheme where it offers various incentives. While M-SIPS talks of financial incentives to attract investments in electronics hardware manufacturing, the Electronics Manufacturing Clusters programme gives financial assistance to create world-class infrastructure for electronics manufacturing units. Also Read - 63 percent mobile users in India face network issues while accessing Internet: Study
On Net neutrality, Prasad said Internet is the finest creation of human mind and it does not encounter any boundary and it does not get stopped by geography. “If it is seamless, then this finest creation of human mind must be owned by the entire mankind, not by a few,” Prasad clarified.