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September 7, 1998


A short recap on Internet developments in India

Email this story to a friend. Internet services have grown phenomenally since they were opened to the general public three years ago. It is expected that by 2000, the networks in the country will be able to support two million to three million subscribers.

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establishments. The demand for Web access soon outstripped the supply.

A Department of Telecommunications spokesperson points out that the policy decision announced by the government with regard to permitting entry of private sector Internet service providers will strengthen the country's ability to provide access to information over the Internet.

The detailed guidelines and terms and conditions of licence agreements between the ISPs and the government are being finalised, the spokesperson assured.

Commercial Internet services in India were launched in August 1995 by the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited and later by the Department of Telecommunications.

The subscriber base, on March 31, 1998, was 90,000. Internet services are now offered on an all-India basis, connecting the main Internet access nodes in Europe via submarine cable media.

Internet in India, which was available for some time through the ERNET, the Education and Research Network, was made available for commercial use by VSNL from the four metros of New Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras.

The service was then expanded to include Bangalore and Pune by the end of 1995. To meet the increased demand for Internet access and the varied services that go with it, VSNL, in co-operation with DoT, extended the reach by adding new 'points of presence'.

In 1977, the new POPs included Kanpur, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Patna and Goa.

The network today comprises around 40 POPs. On the anvil are another 30 POPs. All the new nodes are being operated by the DoT.

The availability of Internet access in India on a commercial basis resulted in the growth of a number of services that use the global network as a platform.

The Internet opened up a whole new era for Indian companies with its endless opportunities and new services that include email, easy access to databases, Web hosting services, advertising and online publication.

Most major Indian companies have a presence on the Internet today. With the growth of several Indian online news services on the Web, online advertising is catching up too.

With a user base of over 70 million, the Internet is an ideal medium for electronic commerce. The availability of secure transaction technologies is fostering the growth of new electronic commerce services in India.

While the Indian user base of 600,000 is still small, it forms a critical segment of users that no company aspiring to do business on the Net can afford to ignore.

The availability of Internet services via leased lines has proven to be a critical base for software developers in India. Today software exports from India are at $1.8 billion per year and surging at 80 per cent per annum.


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