Monday, January 30, 2006

Bangalore Unwired

Power has changed hands in Karnataka, the IT state of India. Power changes bring in a wave of freshness. New government installed. Eagerness among the ruling party politicians to show the prowess of their government in the ability to get things done. Dormant project files are dusted and re-scanned. Strong statements by the new Chief Minister(C.M.) in the making, Mr H D Kumaraswamy ( the son of the erstwhile PM Deve Gowda, who was painted anti-progressive by the media ) that made headlines , "I'll prove that my father was not anti-IT or BT". Though all these do paint a rosy future, the Indian public tends to take them with a pinch of salt. However, this time I have an inkling that the young C.M. means business.

Even days before the new C.M. is to be sworn in, and just a day after the bold statement by him, the new Karnataka government has unveiled plans for the most ambitious of all IT projects till date. Project 'Bangalore Unwired' aims at creating a city wide wireless infrastructure to provide seamless integrated wireless digital environment both for government and private users. The entire wireless network would be spread across a radius of 50 km. For the full story go here.

This definitely is music to the IT industry. Assuming this step takes off and the government goes about it on a war footing, it would not only provide an untethered fast network access to millions of users but also further the image of Bangalore as an innovative and progressive hub in the days to come. It would mean newer wireless applications, services and a gamut of new possibilities for Bangloreans.

It reminds of the last few days of my work stint at Detroit, USA working for General Motors. The city municipal council was planning to setup wireless network by the end of 2007. I was wondering when Indian cities would catch up. Now I think I need to alert my former colleagues in Detroit that their city would soon have to do some catching up with their Indian counterparts.

There was also this joke that was doing the rounds in Bangalore last year when there was huge uproar triggered off by the IT bigwigs about the traffic congestion that was causing delays in ferrying their employees to and fro between the work places and residential areas. The complaint was that the employees spend 2-3 hours of their day in company buses being ferried across the city. The government was insisting that in spite of all the infrastructure improvements that they are performing, there is bound to be some delays and the IT companies would have to put up with it. Some smartie suggested in one of the online discussion forums that the only solution was to setup wireless networks across Bangalore and, the IT companies equip their company buses with Wi-Fi enabled laptops. This way the moment the employees board the buses, they can log into their company accounts and check their e-mails and start getting work done. Smart, eh ?

I think time has come to make a reality of the joke and maybe even go a step further.....Did anybody just say "Work from Home" ?. I just did.

Useful Links : Wireless Networking in the Developing World.

1 comment:

Rajit said...

The Troy Public Library is already Wifi, the Pilot implementation is scheduled to complete by March end. Checkout for more info.


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