Not many in the GIS community might have noticed a current government initiative in India. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently unveiled a bold vision for broadband growth in India. It advocated reduction of duties and taxes on network infrastructure and customer equipment heavily. It envisages a vision to make 70 per cent of Indian connections to be broadband by the next 5 years.
Interestingly, a leading Indian daily terms broadband aspects in India similar to fabled blind men feeling up an elephant. Though rightly addressed, this vision surely does call for sea changes in the Indian citizens’ access to information and the way they shall get connected in future.
Broadband is not only about affordability and speed, it will bring in something far more important – ‘willingness’ and ‘interest’ for the digital wired system. Contact with geospatial information shall also get multiplied at different levels of users, just the way with access to information. Citizens’ dependence on services that are geospatial and location-based shall see the day.
Concepts of Spatial Data Infrastructure, Enterprise GIS, Web-based GIS and any Location-Based Service has direct implications to this vision. Though one might argue that vision means little without strategies, but for the GIS community, this indeed is a big stone thrown in a lake, capable to create waves and not only ripples. Many Asian countries with potentials that are practically fathomless are soon to follow this. Perhaps, we are not far from a state where Asian community shall not just seek for information, but add to it openly.
The road is yet tough, but at least the broadband ‘wire’ has arrived in the form of a vision.
Lets get connected !