Kalam favours free bandwidth

Special Correspondent

`It is the demolisher of imbalances and a leveller'

KOLKATA: President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam on Wednesday asked the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) to take up the challenge to provide free bandwidth on demand, saying that while trying to be inclusive, providing this in an unhindered way to the rural areas would be a priority task.

"It is the demolisher of imbalances and a great leveller in a knowledge society," he said after inaugurating InfoComm 2006 organised by Business World and Nasscom.

He said free bandwidth would make economic sense if one prices the services offered using bandwidth. "We have the fibre infrastructure ready up to the block level, last mile technologies are being implemented and the VSAT technologies for the unreachable are in place in the form of EDUSAT and other satellite services."

On the software exports front, the President felt that stagnation had set in since the ICT industry's growth in the mid-Nineties. He wanted the industry to change the situation and target a software export level of $200 billion by 2010 "It will need adoption of multiple innovative strategies by the Nasscom and the industry partners," he said.

Major activities in the domestic area too needed to be completed by the software industry, according to President Kalam. This included establishment of a State-wide area network by 2007 and computerisation of nearly 13,500 district and subordinate courts.

Noting that West Bengal, which was not even on the industry's radar screen, has now woken up to the ICT world, Mr. Kalam said it should become the gateway to the East in ICT and bring niche capability to the market. He said India should now invest around $300 million towards nano science and technology research in order to become a leader in nano technology products which have a market potential of an equivalent amount.

Nasscom Chairman, Ramalinga Raju, also spoke of an inclusive growth strategy. He ruled out the possibility of Indian running out of IT talent, saying that only 15 per cent of the total talent-base was now being used and international events such as these strengthened the industry's foundation for making greater use of talent.