Since his early days in college, Raunak Maheshwari had been fascinated with the idea of resolving the connectivity problems of the masses. “I dreamt of a world where connectivity is taken for granted,” he recalls.
His current stint as director, Extreme Labs, India, gives him this opportunity to work towards enhancing internet connectivity. In this role, he formulates strategies, takes decisions to establish internet exchange points and implements these strategies on the ground.
Amongst the biggest challenges in the sector today is creating an ecosystem that makes Digital India possible and more affordable, he believes. “This involves resolving issues related to connectivity, knowledge, access to technologies and simplifying the regulatory environment. Extreme is establishing internet exchanges to help solve the connectivity problem and also democratise access to content,” he says.
The Indian telecom sector is witnessing significant centralisation, with only a few players dominating the market, Maheshwari notes. “However, to make India a global cloud and content hub requires a free market and the presence of many alternative wireline fibre broadband providers to ensure prices remain competitive,” he says. In the future, he expects the demand for wireline broadband and internet exchanges to increase owing to the continuation of the work-from-home trend.
Maheshwari has a strong background in research and development. In the past, he has worked as research staff for the Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI), South Korea, and large organisations such as British Telecom. He has also taught computer science at Rajasthan Technical University and worked as a network consultant with various internet service providers. His varied work experience of over 15 years in the telecom domain has been challenging yet exciting. “I have had the opportunity to work on challenging assignments, but two of them stand out. The first was working with ETRI on Wi-Max technology, which was exciting. The second was starting Extreme IX in Mumbai, which was even more satisfying and challenging,” he says. He believes that his ability to understand different concepts adds to his knowledge base and is one if his key strengths.
Maheshwari is a computer engineer from the University of Pune with a master’s degree in mobile computing from the University of Bradford. His family comprises his parents, his wife and their two sons. He spends much of his downtime engaging in different outdoor sports with his sons. He also enjoys reading mythology and history.