To support the Centre’s ambitious Bharat Nirman project for rural development, state-owned telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) on Tuesday joined hands with leading chip-maker Intel and computer manufacturer HCL to launch a series of initiatives for ensuring access to wireless broadband Internet and affordable computers in villages.

Launching the initiative, Minister of State for Communication and IT Sachin Pilot said: “This programme has the potential to connect millions more Indians to 21st century digital opportunity, driving national growth in the process. This will spur economic and educational opportunities in rural India.”

According to Intel’s President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini, “This project is a significant step in making technology more affordable and accessible to create opportunity for many more Indians. We are pleased to work with BSNL and HCL to innovate locally and help accelerate high-speed WiMAX wireless connections and computing across the country.” WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a technology providing high-speed wireless transmission of data.

BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Kuldeep Goyal said his company would be extending mobile Internet to millions of people in rural India and, in the process, would bring a whole new meaning to bridging the digital divide in this country.

HCL Infosystems Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ajai Chowdhry said “The Intel- and HCL-designed WiMAX-capable ‘nettop’ is a cornerstone of our strategy for mass adoption of connected PCs, which in turn will have a multiplier effect on the nation’s GDP (gross domestic product).”

“The nettops would be manufactured in India by HCL using Intel’s atom processor, while BSNL would roll out WiMAX infrastructure,” he added.

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