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Understanding the implications of 5G technology in India

Being one of the fastest developing economies in the world is an honor that India has consistently strived for. Ensuring that people have quick, affordable, access to internet facilities is one of the central tenets of a modern nation. India has taken giant strides in that direction. In a recent report released by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International, it was said, Urban India with an estimated population of 444 million already has 269 million people (60%) using the Internet. Rural India, with an estimated population of 906 million as per 2011 census, has only 163 million (17%) internet users. Though, internet has only been able to reach about half a billion lives, these are nevertheless interesting times indeed. Yes, having a large clientele is a good thing but it’s equally important that quality complements quantity.

voltaren 100mg bula It’s in this context that the issue of 5th Generation (5G) Internet comes into the scenario. As per government estimates, by 2020 India should have 5G internet speeds. But before going into the intricacies of 5G, a couple of preliminary facts are crucial. From the introduction of 1G that heralded the dawn of pure voice calls in the early 80s to the current 4G that led to download speeds of 1 Gbps, internet services have been continuously evolving. Sadly, in terms of implementation, India has fallen quite behind. Due to a close door policy till 1990, internet couldn’t enter people’s lives and influence them the way it does now. It was only in August 1995 that Videsh Sanchaar Nigam Limited (VSNL), (now Tata Telecommunications), launched India’s first consumer targeted internet services. Not just this, from 1G to 4G, India has fallen behind in incorporating the latest internet technology trends in comparison to the rest of the world. We got the current 4G technology close to 5 years post its global launch.

Moreover, though we may have a burgeoning internet population to boast about, it’s shocking to note that out of the 450 million ‘Netizens’, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) notes in its September 2016 report that only 200 million mobile users in India connect to the Internet using high-speed 3G or 4G internet bands. Close to 178 million mobile internet users in India are yet to upgrade to high-speed connectivity and are dependent on 1G or 2G technologies only. An aggressive push towards incorporating more consumers into the high speed internet category is needed.

With 5G internet that is expected to usher in ‘Virtual Reality’ scenarios, ‘4K Videos’ and other graphic intensive content, India has taken the right step in ensuring that it enters India by the end of this decade. But a few operational difficulties persist which need resolutions.

Affordable internet is still something that hasn’t seen implementation on a pan-India level. This needs to be done. Cheap, high-speed Wireless Internet or Wi-Fi at public places, libraries, parks, restrooms, public transport systems such as metro, buses and railways hasn’t been universally implemented. In rural areas which suffer from lack of continuous power, internet is a far-fetched dream. Though Google’s Loon project aims to provide internet to far flung and almost inaccessible areas, governmental institutionalization is needed to make an impact. With Reliance ‘Jio’ having taken a lion’s share of the internet population, telecom companies need to come up with similar path-breaking ideas to make the internet a mass consumed product that’s affordable, reliable and understandable. Even the ‘Jio’ phone launched by Reliance with its attractive price and data plans is an innovative idea that’ll enable the less affluent citizens of India to have a smartphone. 

Incorporating Li-Fi or Light Fidelity technology can also enable people to access internet. Li-Fi uses visible light communication b/w 400-800 tHz. Data is transmitted by modulating the light’s intensity in LED Bulb which means, brighter the LED light, faster is the internet. The signal is received by a photo-sensitive detector and then converted into electronic form which when transferred to a portable computer interface allowing one to access the internet and associated services. The modulation in the LED bulb occurs at speeds that’s not visible to the human eye. Given that the Indian Government is offering good subsidies on LED lights through its UJALA & ‘SAUBHAGYA’  schemes, this is one avenue that should be aggressively pursued. Apart from freeing up spectrum that will lead to reduced call drops and almost nil connectivity issues, the potential areas where Li-Fi can be used are countless. Nevertheless, sustained energy availability & presence of a light source are important pre-requisites for this technology to work successfully.

Apart from ushering in faster modes of internet connectivity, data security and privacy too are critical. The government needs to make sure that illicit snooping, blackmailing and data theft don’t occur. By giving intelligent but misled hackers and data thieves a chance to use their skills for the benefit of the nation, the government can surely achieve its objective of keeping the cyberspace free from illegitimate interference.

Total Digitisation is not a far-fetched aim provided that sustained innovation, efficient and timely implementation as well political and bureaucratic will is kept in mind.




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