Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on the last leg of his visit to the US. Over the past couple of days, Modi has managed to speak to a host of Fortune 500 CEOs. Among the prominent announcements from Modi’s Silicon Valley visit are:
Google announces plans to offer free Wi-Fi at 500 stations
According to a recent report released by the United Nations Broadband Commission titled, ‘The State of Broadband’ report prior to the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development said that India slipped in global rankings on broadband penetration.
While many may argue that it is the Government’s responsibility to provide an effective and affordable access to broadband internet, the fact remains that India is now behind countries such as Syria and Sudan in terms of internet penetration.
During PM Modi’s visit to the Google campus during the Code for India hackathon 2015, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that Google would be partnering with Indian Railways to provide high-speed broadband internet connectivity at 500 Indian railway stations. Pichai stressed that these connections would enable streaming of high definition video content, stressing that they would not just enable connectivity but enables consumption of high bandwidth video.
Microsoft Broadband connectivity to 5 lakh villages
After Google, it was Microsoft’s turn to sweeten the deal. While Google focussed on high speed connectivity, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Microsoft will partner with the Indian government to bring low-cost internet connectivity to 5,00,000 Indian villages.
During the townhall at the Facebook HQ with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, PM Modi responded to a query on how effective the Make in India campaign would be and the ease of changing the course of things. He gave the anecdote of a scooter being driven and how easy it is to divert its course. Modi added that in the case of train, it take time to steer it in a new direction. This was in reference to the scale of India. At the Facebook townhall, Modi highlighted that India has a unique challenge of over 600000 villages.
The announcement by Microsoft couldn’t have come at a better time than when the Digital India initiative has been proposed to the world.
Microsoft data centres in India next week
In his announcement, Nadella added, “A key part of both Make in India and Digital India, bringing world class infrastructure into India, respecting India’s digital security, sovereignty and privacy is a key milestone for us.”
This would enable Microsoft to offer high speed services, cloud hosting, as well as enable scalability to small business, young enterpreneurs and large corporations in India. Interestingly, in March 2010, Microsoft launched the Azure Platform in India.
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