In the demonetization era, VNL’s rural broadband solutions can take Modi’s ‘Digital India’
In the times of demonetization when the Modi Government is urging people to move towards electronic modes of payments, the factor that will matter most in making digital payments successful is uninterrupted internet access, particularly in rural areas where reliable mobile network are still a big issue. While top mobile operators, including government-owned BSNL, is striving hard to ensure uninterrupted mobile network for better voice and uninterrupted data transfer, a Gurgaon-based telecom company – Vihaan Networks Ltd or VNL – has shown the way that could help realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of “Digital India”.
Through its unique and ‘green’ mobile solutions, VNL has set up broadband networks in three villages in Rajasthan that provide seamless Wi-Fi coverage free of cost. These networks are literally maintenance-free that can be managed by any villager and are not dependent on government power supply as they are solar powered,
Though the villages of Karenda, Phalsa and Bahadari are yet to get good roads and proper supply of water, what they can boast of is uninterrupted Wi-Fi network that delivers good broadband speed and is free of cost. Students here can be seen visiting various websites related to education and jobs though they sometimes do visit entertainment and sports website for recreation. VNL has also provided broadband services to government school and ‘panchayat ghars’ in these villages that helps school and gram panchayats to get their official work done.
“We have created high-speed wireless internet services solutions especially for rural areas. Our ‘Rural Broadband Solution’ is totally solar-powered and standalone wireless broadband solution that provides seamless Wi-Fi coverage anywhere. It needs no shelter, air conditioning, connection to power grid, generator or diesel fund, and is ready for business in days providing fully-functional broadband,” says VNL Chairman Rajiv Mehrotra.
Another interesting innovation from VNL is ‘Gurukul’, village internet kiosk solution that enables rural communities to access high speed broadband internet without the need for connection to power grid or diesel generators. “High speed broadband internet access enables children to take advantage of distance learning and other e-learning initiatives. Villagers can also access the internet for e-finance and e-governance related tasks. Our modern and ‘green’ broadband solutions will help the government in speedy realization of the ‘Digital India’ goals,” adds Mr. Mehrotra.
Being close to Delhi, these villages had access to mobile networks and broadband, but erratic mobile connectivity and power supply besides high data packages made it difficult for them to freely use internet. “But for almost two years VNL has been providing us uninterrupted broadband access. Villagers, particularly children, are happy that they can use internet for education and other purposes. It has also helped us to get crucial information related to agriculture and weather. With the government scrapping old Rs.1000 and Rs.500 notes, people are now learning internet banking and other modes of e-transaction, thanks to good broadband network,” says a village elder.
VNL, which also has to its credit of supplying cost-efficient and reliable mobile network in Naxal-affected states, is planning to take its rural broadband solution to other remote areas of the country. “Our rural solution can bring broadband revolution across India, particularly in remote villages and far off places in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Northeast, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These easy-to-maintain and cost-effective Wi-Fi solutions can provide uninterrupted internet access to people. It can also help in running administration as we have demonstrated in these villages,’ Mr. Mehrotra adds.
Government sources say the Telecom Department and the BSNL have taken VNL’s experiment very positively and is mulling over starting a pilot project by using the technology. “VNL’s low-cost, and maintenance-free broadband solution looks ideal for taking Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ campaign to the next level. The Prime Minister is pushing for e-payments and e-transactions post scrapping of old currency, the challenge for the government is to see that every Indian gets uninterrupted internet access. And to make it possible, we need solutions like the one being provided by VNL,” a senior DoT official adds.