Prakash Nagarajan, Co-founder and Director, Tevatel

The advent of the internet has significantly transformed the face of the Indian society, and it will continue to do so for years to come. Over the past decade, internet has allowed people, governments, and enterprises to embark on an ambitious journey by becoming more connected and informed while witnessing an upheaval of existing socio-economic systems.

Internet connectivity has become an integral part of over half a billion internet users in India, and we are on the verge of becoming the world’s largest market for internet subscribers. This accelerated adoption, usage, and hunger for speed suggest that an even greater digital revolution is on its way.

Now that 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of internet in India, the upsurge of the user base, innovations in the digital spectrum, and the rise of internet-based solutions will inarguably create significant socio-economic value for the country. The domestication of uninterrupted internet in rural India and a step-up from the local internet vendor/café system to a seamless household internet access is the next goal to empower rural citizens.

Internet as the foundation of lives and livelihood 

The internet’s fundamental role is to empower people and communities, equip them with knowledge, and provide opportunities even from the most distant places. With a seamless supply of internet connectivity, people are better aware of the local and global markets and can avail services, new markets, and innovations that were previously unavailable. The internet also opened doors for next-gen digital services and industries like e-governance, e-education, social media, aggrotech, e-commerce, fintech, telehealth, etc.

The obsolete narrative of internet just being a means to communicate is no longer valid. As it has become a foundation for an intelligent society, the ambitious vision of building smart cities and villages, modern agriculture prospects, effective healthcare, online education, and more would not be possible without internet.

Digital transformation and data-driven society 

The internet has gone from being the next big thing to the enabler of the next big thing. The rise of big data, cloud, and IoT uses the internet to accomplish things that we couldn’t even dream of 20 years before. With rising internet penetration into Indian society and applying the amassed data to various industries like education, healthcare, and manufacturing, internet is an exponential enabler of digitization and a significant facilitator of technology adoption in India.

Internet in COVID times 

If anything, the pandemic has taught us the true value of internet as an absolute necessity and not an option. When the entire country was facing multiple lockdowns, business processes were stopped, and the economy was at an all-time low; it was internet, which kept the world going. Currently, the government is leveraging internet to improve citizen-government connect while delivering crucial information about the virus and real-time updates on the status of the disease in the country, availability of healthcare facilities, and more. Businesses are using the same to collaborate in these troubled times and embrace the new work-from-home culture whose entire premise is based on internet connectivity.

Internet and telecom

The reason for the high adoption and consumption rate of the internet in India is its price. A typical Indian can avail 4G speed internet at Rs 20 per GB, which is the cheapest in the world. Hence, the telecom industry has become the optimum facilitator of a truly connected and ambitious India. The sector aims to explore more avenues with technologies like cloud, AI, ML, and more.

As we advance, the advent of 5G and cloud will enhance the programmability, flexibility, and higher deplorability of business and citizen development initiatives and transform the country’s socio-economic fabric. The Indian government’s pushing momentum towards building a digitally empowered nation will require a country-wide application of 5G technology, and the telecom industry will serve as a backbone to the Indian economic growth.

The story of internet has been of a revolution first and evolution quickly after. For the last 25 years, internet has been continuously evolving and adapting to the changing population demand, and with time it will soon become an engine for Indian socio-economic growth. The internet has unlocked vast opportunities in job and wealth creation, improving productivity, and actively adapting to enhanced customer preferences. The internet’s performance and adoption in a country like India is remarkable since the internet is still in its nascent stage, and the country can expect even more revolutionary things in the future.