Title: Bridging the digital divide: the Indian experience in increasing the access to telecommunications services

Authors: Sunil Mani

Addresses: Centre for Development Studies, Prasanth Nagar, Ulloor, Trivandrum 695011, Kerala, India

Abstract: India has one of the fastest growing telecom services industries in the world. Teledensity in the country which was less than one telephone per 100 people in 1991, when the country unleashed a wave of market reforms, have now increased to about 66 per 100 at the end of 2010. There are, of course, considerable variations in rural-urban teledensities, although this has been narrowed down in an impressive and sometimes unbelievable fashion. This is especially impressive when you take into account two factors: first, the industry is dominated by private sector enterprises accounting for about 80% of the services market, and second, administrative and financial mechanisms that the government has put in place to increase access to telecom services in rural areas and thereby bridging the digital divide has not met with much success. In the context, the purpose of the present paper is to provide some explanation as to how these reductions in teledensities have been accomplished.

Keywords: telecommunications; India; government regulation; teledensity; digital divide; telecom services; telephones; market reforms; rural teledensities; urban teledensities; private sector; administrative mechanisms; financial mechanisms; mobile technologies; cellular communications; fixed lines; technological learning; technological innovation; technological development; development policies; R&D; research and development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2012.044882

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2012 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.184 - 203

Available online: 13 Jan 2012 *

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