Access to High Speed Internet – Impacting the Economy

Manoj Tandon

Is this true? Is something as industry specific especially high Tech sounding so important for economic growth. Many studies have been done, mostly in the western world, and it has been shown that High Speed Internet has a direct and a significant impact on the economy of the country.
Let’s have a quick look how?
Direct Impact:
The Technology industry itself has benefitted significantly from the advent of High Speed broadband. Here is how:

  • The Indian IT industry grew by leaps and bounds in the 90’s and the last decade. However, the growth engine has slowed down a bit now. Besides other reasons, one of the reasons is tightening visa and immigration regimes of the developed world. Travel across the seas is becoming tougher and cost in-effective. High Speed Broadband has enabled the industry to provide the same services to its clients across the world without the hassle of physical travel.
  • The Broadband industry has been an integral part of the communication revolution in India. Add up the growth of all the Telecom companies in India, their growth, the employees engaged in them and you would see the game changer it has been.
  • In fact, if you add up the IT and Communications companies revenue in India, it is a significant part of India’s GDP.

Indirect Impact:
E-Commerce globally is estimated to be around 5 % of total commerce around the world.
What has enabled it? Would you think that dial-up modems and the old style of bandwidth could have made it possible? I am sure your answer is the same as mine…never.
Now, start extending this data further, who sells on the Internet, mostly small and medium sized B2C companies who cannot afford to have long supply chains and distribution channels. In other words, because of High Speed Internet, E-commerce has succeeded and because of the success of E-Commerce, lot of small businesses has spawned, and further due to the spawning of lot of internet based small business lot of jobs, lot of income has gotten created.
Can there be a better example of how high speed broadband is changing the lives of million and millions of people.
Socio-Economic Impact: 
No discussion on this can be completed without talking about the socio-economic of the broadband.
Think about what are the key problems of a country like India…non-existent employment opportunities in rural areas, limited opportunities for good quality education in rural areas, workers engaged in making goods (sold as “ethnic” items at premium prices in the big cities) etc.
The above is leading to a massive rural urban migration. Making unmanageable urban infrastructure even more unmanageable. The data suggests that Delhi, which bursting at its seams, has grown mostly due to this migration rather than the growth in population.
Now, what does this have to do with High Speed Broadband, simple….if India has High Speed Internet Broadband in rural areas; one need not come to Cities to find jobs.
First of all, we all know now that on-line education is changing the Education as a social function. Today, class rooms are desirable but not mandatory for learning.
A young man living in rural UP can learn at least 70-80 % of what he/she could have learnt if he has taken the painful task of migrating to a big, unfamiliar town like Delhi.
Today, via the help of many sincere NGO’s, many rural workers can sell their good via internet and earn their living while living in their homes.
Now, finally, this discussion cannot end without the role Govt and Pvt. Industry can play in making High Speed Broadband a Ubiquitous thing.
There are umpteen examples in US, UK and Europe where Govt. and Pvt Sector companies have tied up to create High Speed Broadband in semi-rural and rural areas.
There are numerous studies which have also shown that this has helped in socio-economic development of these areas.
Need we say more.
Let me end this by giving you an interesting piece of statistics.
Globally, studies have shown that High Speed Broadband impacts more that 0.5 % of the country’s GDP. It may sound like a small % but try to take countries GDP, and convert into money numbers and one would see how much it matters.
India’s GDP is 2.26 trillion USD, 0.5 % of this is makes it 14000000000 USD. Try converting this into a speak able number…..
This is the estimated impact of an all-pervasive High Speed Internet to an economy.
Does one still need to think about it?
About the Author 
Manoj Tandon, CEO – TMTC 
Manoj holds a Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur and PGDM from the Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow. He has over 32 years of experience in the IT industry. A large part of his professional experience has been in leadership positions, rendering Technical and Strategic Leadership to software organizations at the level of Managing Partner, Member of the Board etc. During his career he has lived and worked in UK, Europe, US and India. He is an avid writer having written for newspapers and publications like Economic Times, Business Standard etc. Manoj also has been involved in Academics for quite some time. As a guest faculty he has taught in IIM, IIT etc. and has been a member of the Academic Advisory Board of many institutes. At present he is the CEO of TMTC, a leading business consulting company.

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