Bridge rural-urban digital divide Suresh Prabhu

Inaugurating a seminar on ‘Bridging the Rural Disconnect’ organised by RailTel, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said that it is necessary to provide digital rural connectivity across India.
Bridge rural-urban digital divide Suresh Prabhu

It is a huge challenge to reach out to all villages which are not connected so far and it is also necessary to provide digital rural connectivity across India, Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said on Friday.

“We have to definitely bridge rural-urban digital divide so that the benefits of modernization and latest technology flow to rural areas also. We also have to fulfil the aspirations of youth population of the country and digital connectivity will also help them in a big way,” Prabhu said while inaugurating a seminar on ‘Bridging the Rural Disconnect’ on Friday. The seminar was organised by RailTel Corporation of India Limited, a PSU of Indian Railways on the occasion of its 17th Foundation Day.

Prabhu said that Railway PSU RailTel, plays a crucial role in providing digital connectivity through optical fibre. RailTel’s PAN India Optic Fibre network is providing connectivity to more than four thousand stations in the country.

Referring to the usage of digital connectivity, Prabhu said that it can be used for telemedicine, education, entertainment and may other areas. Referring to the high speed WiFi Broadband services at railway stations, the Railway Minister pointed out that RailTel in partnership with Google is implementing it and this service has already been provided at 50 stations will complete the target of 100 stations by December, 2016.

RK Bahuguna, CMD, RailTel set the platform for discussion on how India needs to act collectively to develop the digital infrastructure of the Rural area.

After the inaugural session the panel discussion on Collaborative methods to bridge the rural Digital Divide explored the possibility of adopting the methods of collaborative economies, platforms and micro entrepreneurs to drive down the cost of internet access in rural India. During the discussion A Seshagiri Rao, Director, RailTel highlighted Railwire as a successful model of providing broadband specially in rural and Tier-2/3 cities.

RailTel Corporation a "Mini Ratna (Category-I)" PSU is the largest neutral telecom services providers in the country owning a Pan-India optic fiber network covering all important towns & cities of the country and several rural areas covering 70 percent of India’s population. RailTel is in the forefront in providing nationwide Broadband Telecom & Multimedia Network in all parts of the country in addition to modernization of Train operations and administration network systems for Indian Railways. With its Pan India high capacity network, RailTel is working towards creating a knowledge society at various fronts and has been selected for implementation of various mission-mode Govt. of India projects in the telecom field.  

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BK Jha is the Special Correspondent of Rural & Marketing. Prior to this he has been associated with The Hindustan Times, Political and Business Daily along with many other media organisations.
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