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Saankhya Lab Meghdoot to digitalise India

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New Delhi: Saankhya, a Bengaluru-based startup is on the verge of giving wings to the Modi government’s ‘Digital India’ project by developing a highly sophisticated chip called ‘Pruthvi’. Realising that the highly ambitious project can be a reality only if the country’s rural is brought under the internet coverage, Saankhya focused on using the wasted spectrum bandwidth of Television to beam internet signals.

Pruthvi, the postage stamp-sized chip has the potential to charge a system which can utilize the TV’s wasted spectrum bandwidth and emit internet signals. Once the system is in place, India can graduate into an internet hub in no time.

However, Google with its Project Loon had tried to envelope remote areas with internet using giant balloons.  Facebook too with its Aquila is bringing remote areas under internet network.

But Saankhya can beat the likes of Google and Facebook if their endeavor tastes success.

With TV population in India rising to 89 per cent, the Pruthvi-chip powered system, Meghdoot, can utilize the available bandwidth for providing wireless broadband service to remote, rural areas.

TV bandwidth communication system boasts of a reach as far as 10-30kms from a single station.

The company is planning to conduct feasibility trials in the US, the Philippines, Singapore and other countries.

The Meghdoot product consists of two things, a base station and a user-side modem that makes use of the TV White Space spectrum from 400 to 800MHz in order to provide Wireless Rural Broadband.

Founded by Parag Naik, Hemant Mallapur and Vishwakumara Kayargadde, Saankhya Labs, was founded in 2007 and is all set to conduct trials across the country.

They have inked deals with like IIT-Hyderabad, IIT-Delhi and IIT-Bombay for pilot run of the project. In a bid to digitalise India, discussions are underway with technology giant, Microsoft, to carry out field trials at Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.

(Picture Courtesy: www.medialabs.in)

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Is Internet Usage In India Calculated In A right Manner?

According to industry experts, the research methodology to derive the average number of Internet users would entail a large-format survey.

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According to Mohanty, Internet usage is calculated based on the number of people using Internet. Pixabay

If we look at government or independent research figures, Internet users in India are growing exponentially — currently hovering around 560 million and likely to cross 600 million by the end of the year.

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India has amn Internet subscriber base of nearly 560 million, including 482 million broadband subscribers – which means 43 per cent overall Internet penetration.

The country has 366 million Internet subscribers in urban locations and 194 million in rural areas, says the latest TRAI report that came out in December.

The “ICUBETM 2018” report from market research firm Kantar IMRB said this week that the number of Internet users in the country will reach 627 million by the end of this year.

The numbers are overwhelming but when it comes to the methodology behind deriving the average number of Internet users, there appears some gap.

For example, if a person in a family has 2 mobile numbers and he or she uses multiple devices for Internet access, how is that accounted for?

According to industry experts, the research methodology to derive the average number of Internet users would entail a large-format survey.

“Such a survey would typically cover 50,000 to 1,00,000 households in India, spread across urban and rural India, and covering all socio-economic classes (SEC) segments,” says Satya Mohanty, Head-User Research Practice, CyberMedia Research (CMR).

According to Mohanty, Internet usage is calculated based on the number of people using Internet.

“Therefore, if in one household, there are three people using one device PC/smartphone, then it is calculated as three users instead of one user,” he told IANS.

internet
The numbers are overwhelming but when it comes to the methodology behind deriving the average number of Internet users, there appears some gap. Pixabay

The average number of users derived from the sample survey is extrapolated to the total number of households in India to find out total number of users.

“For example, consider that the survey findings point to the average number of Internet users per household being 2.5. And, in India, there is 250 million households. Replicating the average figure of 2.5 with the total number of households, we have 625 million Internet users in India,” Mohanty elaborated.

According to Kantar IMRB, their latest “ICUBETM 2018” report covered over 70,000 individuals, selected through a sampling process across over 400 urban areas and more than 1,500 rural locations.

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“As data costs plummeted, more Indians than ever before are experiencing broadband for the first time on mobile”. Pixabay

“ICUBE members are of users and not subscribers. Thus people carrying multiple phones will be counted as a single user,” Biswapriya Bhattacharjee, Executive Vice President, Kantar IMRB, told IANS.

Similarly, Bhattacharjee added, a person using his or her spouses/parents’ phone for Internet access will also be counted as an Internet user.

One thing, however, is clear: the data usage is growing thanks to Reliance Jio, along with the increasing number of smartphone and entry-level feature phone users.

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“Jio has been a transformative force in enabling digital inclusion, by connecting the unconnected. Since its foray, Jio has achieved a remarkable feat of covering 95 per cent of India’s population with aggressive 4G network roll-out aided by innovative pricing strategy,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, told IANS.

“As data costs plummeted, more Indians than ever before are experiencing broadband for the first time on mobile,” Ram added. (IANS)