Friday, November 26, 2010

5 issues to be tackled for making Internet BIG in India!

Internet in India is still in the net.While we all are hoping 3G to really change the world of internet around us but it might just fail to do. Statistics show that we are doing terribly as a nation - 
  1. Only 1% Indians use mobile to access Internet
  2. Compared to India's less than 10% penetration today, Malaysia has 56% and China has 28% penetration of Internet!
  3. Malaysians consume 35 percent more digital media than Internet users in China and 150 percent more than users in India
 In my mind these are the 5 issues that we, as a nation, need to tackle to ensure Internet finally gets BIG in India.

1. Local advertising to pick up
We all crib for seeing ads while watching our favorite TV shows and movies. But remember, it is these ads only that finance the TV channels to make more programs for us to watch. Similar thing needs to happen on mobile. Advertising which is local. 

Imagine you are in Allahabad. You open a website on your smartphone and see an ad for food in Allahabad restaurant nearby. Not possible today. If it becomes a possibility, I am sure advertising will fund lot of major developments possible in this field. 

2. Cheaper but sophisticated apps 
I know there are zillions of apps available for cheaper phones as well. But none of them must have had download more than 50,000 times. We should make apps which are not just cost effective but also customized to Indian  needs (for e.g. app for language conversion from Hindi to Telugu"?
Also, I have always wondered why dont we have Twitter and Facebook coming out from India? We only have Posterous by an Indian (Sachin Agarwalin the same league but even this was done in US.

3. Content and websites to be made mobile savvy
Have you seen New York Times on your internet-enabled mobile? It is fantastic to navigate and read. Why can we not have such interface for Indian sites? This would help. Considering the penetration of mobile phone today is about 40% - about 6 times that of Internet!

4. Subsidizing broadband in India
Just like Government of India has subsidized lots of items for us including free electricity for farmers, loss making PSUs like Air India suppoorted by GOI, etc. Why can we not accept that Internet is a great enabler in today and make it cheaply accessible for everyone? 

5. Building trust for internet in India - Need of good statuary laws 
I do most of my shopping online. But still, I fear that my passwords might be compromised. Government should have very clear and communicated cyber laws. precedents should be setup for people who compromise privacy and leak videos, passwords, credit card details etc. Will help all of us in trusting and hence usage of internet. Simple logic is wherever there is a money flow, business model can be carved and be made to work!

Source - 
1. Internet world stats
2. McKinsey report on Digital Asia
3. Photo - Gettyimages
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