Entire cities getting free WiFi used to be quite the sensation, but now the real hotness is in connecting up an entire nation. According to IndiaTimes, the government is proposing that all citizens of India receive complimentary 2Mbps internet by 2009, and the service would be provided by the state-owned BSNL and MTNL. Officials backing the plan are hoping that giving all residents access to high-speed internet would ‘boost economic activity’ as the citywide free WiFi implementations apparently have in America. The nation’s department of telecom will purportedly be laying ‘an extensive optic cable network across the country, permitting the resale of bandwidth, setting up web hosting facilities within the country, and asking all internet service providers to connect to the National Internet Exchange of India.’ Unsurprisingly, this issue has created very polarized camps, as consumers cheer on the idea, current telecom providers are shaking at the mere thought of all future telephone calls being converted into free VoIP dialogue.
Now how is that for a crazy idea. Real broadband provided by the government to stimulate the local economy. Of course it is pure coincidence that India is becoming one of the main countries other, more developed, countries outsource many of their services to. Countries like the USA outsource functions like call centres, accounting services, software development and more to India, China and even certain Eastern European countries. Why? Because those countries don’t have ridiculously high barriers to entry like our telecommunications costs. A cheap broadband solution is vital to grabbing a share of that business moving offshore and we are missing out. But I am sure our government has a good plan and will eventually let us in on it.