India Survey Shows Demand For Half Million Accounts
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There is an immediate demand of around 500,000 new Internet connections in India, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom).
At present, there are about 250,000 Internet subscribers in the country. The survey estimates a demand of 1.5 million connections by the end of the year 2000.
However, the number of Internet users will be four times more than that of subscribers. E-commerce is fast becoming an important part of corporate strategy.
More than 80 percent of the top 100 corporate respondents covered by the study said that e-commerce and Internet are integral to their corporate strategic framework.
The survey expects this to touch Rs 30 crore (US$7 million) during the current financial year.
More than 88 percent of the corporate sites are based in the US, the survey says.
Nasscom has urged the Indian government to install an Internet exchange to encourage setting up of Internet sites in the country.
Once such an exchange is in place, local traffic will not have to go through the US.
"This will save valuable foreign exchange and also cut the cost of the bandwidth required to access information on the Net," said Nasscom president Dewang Mehta.
Mehta said that Nasscom will set up a National Internet Center of Excellence (NICE) to promote digital content development in India. NICE will also lay down standards for local content building and delivery.
The survey says that though there are currently about 250,000 subscribers in the country, the actual number of Internet users is about 800,000.
"This easily surpasses the world standard of account users multiple of 1:3," the survey points out.
Currently, there is an installed PC base of 3 million in the country. About 1.9 million of these PCs can support Internet operations, the survey says.
Nasscom has identified local content development as a major opportunity for the domestic software industry.
"Localization of contents is one of the most important task before the government. There is an urgent need to quickly devise standards and scripts for development of content in Indian languages. These standards should be in conformity with international standards," says the survey.
Mehta, who is also the member spokesperson of the National IT Task Force set up by the prime minister, said that one of the reasons for the growth of Internet in the country is the positive attitude of the department of telecommunications (DoT).
"We are happy that DoT has acted very promptly in notifying 15 of the 18 recommendations of the first task force report," he said.