Business Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Nov 03, 2006
Info-Tech - Outlook
Industry & Economy - Rural Development
Intel CEO bullish on WiMAX network
A FILE PICTURE of Mr Craig Barrett, CEO, Intel Corporation, at the Bangalore Development facility. - G. R. N. Somashekar
Baramati (near Pune) , Nov 2
India could become the world leader in WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access), the emerging technology platform for Internet access, according to Dr Craig Barrett, Chairman of Intel.
Dr Barrett was speaking at Baramati in Pune district on Thursday where WiMAX has been implemented on a pilot project basis. Baramati is the constituency of the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar.
The commercial implementation of WiMAX for Pune city itself is awaiting regulatory clearances.
To enable the wireless communications infrastructure at the community computer centre and public kiosks, Intel, which has invested $1 billion in developing technologies for WIMAX, and Aircel have installed a WiMAX network at Baramati.
This network allows Internet access speeds of 512 kbps to remote communities.
The PCs for the service, donated by Intel to the community centres and the kiosks, are specifically designed for the Indian environment.
The WiMAX network has also been implemented in the Baramati's Government Hospital for telemedicine.
Dr Barrett said that the implementation of WiMAX in Baramati has been better than his expectations. He added that he would present it as a case study at the UN to bring technology to billions of people who live in rural agricultural environments worldwide without the infrastructure that urban communities enjoy.
Dr Barrett is also Chairman of the United Nations Global Alliance for Information, Communication Technologies and Development.
According to him, WiMAX either competes with or complements other technologies such as optical fibre networking and 3G technologies for Internet access.
It is relatively inexpensive and ideal for the Indian rural areas where telecommunications infrastructure is limited.
Currently, 200 trials and 40 commercial implementations of WiMAX are being undertaken globally.
This is an emerging technology where India can take a lead, he said.
Countries such as the US and even Colombia are aggressively developing this technology. In the coming years, the US plans to spend $3 billion on WiMAX alone, he added.
Mr Pawar said that technologies such as WiMAX will help bridge the digital divide. As part of the farm extension service, the technology will help farmers realise better yields per hectare and better prices for their produce, he added.
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