Over the next five years, India will be home to 500 integrated smart villages developed by Nokia.
The Smartpur project aligns with the government's Digital India goal to transform the nation and provide all citizens with opportunities by harnessing digital technologies such as broadband, cloud computing and mobile applications.
The government is relying on this digital economy to generate an economy of $1 trillion, consisting of about 850 million Internet users and 90% smartphone penetration, according to a report released this week by IBM and Kalaari Capital. The country's total economy is predicted to reach $5 trillion by 2025.
Yet in rural regions -- such as the villages being targeted -- the connectivity and computer literacy statistics are heartbreaking. In one, for example, 91% of respondents do not have residential Internet connectivity, the baseline report for Kanchipuram found. In addition, 50% of male respondents can use mobile phones; 1% can use computers or laptops and only 5.3% can use the Internet. For women, it's even worse: A meager 35.3% female respondents can use mobile phones, 1.2% can use computers or laptops, and 3.4% can use the Internet.
To turn this around, India must think creatively -- and that's where Smartpur comes in. Participants hope by bringing broadband to rural regions they can increase literacy and opportunity.
"The Smartpur initiative is our contribution to delivering the benefits of broadband infrastructure and services to the 'telecom-dark' areas and support the government's vision of Digital India for a more inclusive growth," said Sanjay Malik, head of India Market, Nokia, in a statement.
In the pilot phase of phase one, already underway, the ambassador of Finland, Nina Vaskunlahti, inaugurated the debut enclave in Tain village in the Mewat district of Haryana. Non-profit service provider and IT provider Digital Empowerment Foundation is the implementation partner developing 10 villages in each Indian state.
During phase one, DEF will digitally integrate 20 villages in Haryana and Tamil Nadu into a hub and spoke model, according to Nokia. Each hub will host a digital center housing telecom connectivity that extends to five villages, and then out into rural regions and other villages. In phase two, the project will expand to another 80 villages. And subsequently, it will extend to an additional 400 villages over the project's five-year span.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.
(Home page image source: Baseline report for Kanchipuram, Digital Empowerment Foundation)