Mumbai: Union Minister of State for
Information Technology Sachin Pilot has promised that a "21st
century" infrastructure would be set up for high speed
broadband access; while a report that he released expresses
concerns about "low internet literacy" even in urban areas.
Pilot released the report `Innovation In Telecom` by
PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) here yesterday. He did not give
any time-frame for ushering in "21st century" infrastructure,
nor did he comment on the report.
PwC report says that "even in the urban regions, Internet
literacy is quite low, and so is the usage. It will take a
generation for data usage to pick up.... Non-voice services,
including value added services and SMS form just five to 15
per cent of total operator revenues, which goes to over 50 per
cent for operators in major countries. The number for mobile
data would be still lower."
Rural teledensity has still not reached the targets and
the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund created for the
telecom industry has not been utilised adequately, it said.
Most product innovations still originate from the Western
economies while Indian companies seem to be content adopting
them. One of the reasons is lack of proper research
infrastructure, education and investment, the report adds.
"Talent is one drawback we severely face in India. While
India produces twice as many engineering graduates as the
United States, only less than five per cent have basic
vocational skills essential for fruitful employment," it said.
"Only about 25 per cent graduates in India have the skills
that deem them fit to work for multinational companies. This
is because most institutes in India are built with the idea of
meeting the demand for graduate education, focused on
enrolling as many students as possible," the report added.
The report also expresses concern about the anxiety among
telecom sector investors about clarity in telecom policy.