2018 is poised to be the year when India’s vision of Digital India is realized.
The telecom service providers have reiterated their commitment many times in the past few months and promised huge investments to build digital infrastructure on their part. They have urged states as well as municipalities to recognize the power of digital India and enable easy on-ground implementation of policies like right-of-way.
The telecom towers industry too has emphasized the need of a robust telecom infrastructure, which will play a key role in seamless connectivity and enable futuristic technologies such as 5G, IoT, M2M, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. It has sought the government to ensure grid power supply to operate telecom tower sites in the upcoming National Telecom Policy 2018.
The relevance of making internet available at the bottom of the pyramid cannot be undermined. The government has committed that BharatNet shall be put on the fast track, 100,000 gram panchayats will be connected by year end, and 500-600 million Indians will have access to quality internet by March 2019.
The power of a digital economy cannot be over-emphasized. The top five companies in the world by market capitalization are all technology companies. Even in China, three of its largest companies, Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu do not depend on industrial infrastructure, but on digital disruption.
The mobile revolution in India has created the baseline digital infrastructure needed for this leapfrog. New technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT, cloud computing, big data analytics, 3D printing, blockchain, and nanotechnology, once popular, will be enablers of a new wave of wealth and employment. Projects as DAS and Saubhagya will provide the requisite impetus.
Already 70 percent urban internet users are going beyond search and social media, and using at least one digital channel during the purchase journey of a financial product. The number of users opting for online banking is expected to double to reach the 150 million mark by 2020, from the current 45 million active urban online banking users.
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