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September 22, 1999
DoE chief Gupta kick-starts IIW with promises to ISPsPriya Ganapati at Pragati Maidan
The conference and exhibition kicks off with a session by Ravindra Gupta, secretary, Department of Electronics.
Gupta says everything that should be said at any inaugural session. Statistics, updates on government policies, and assertions about the government's commitment towards the IT industry... you name it and his speech has it. The audience has heard it all before.
Gupta reveals, "We are actively pushing for the SatCom policy that will allow Internet service providers to set up their own Earth stations or lease bandwidth for their gateways from other satellite bandwidth providers."
He assures that the backbone infrastructure that would enable proliferation of Internet in the country is poised to take a significant leap with the Department of Telecommunications' decision to connect every development block across the country with an optical fibre network.
"ERNET (Education and Research Network) is also being upgraded with the addition of 8 MBPS and 2 MBPS optical fibre backbones. We are concentrating on improving the network in Northeast India and are closely working with defence personnel to ensure this," Gupta claims.
He assures the delegates that the cyber laws bill would be introduced in the winter session of the Parliament. "This bill is jinxed. We had the draft ready to be introduced in the Parliament when the government fell. After that I had an ordinance on cyber laws prepared. When the cabinet was about to take a decision on it the Election Commission intervened. But I assure you that the bill will be passed in the winter session of the Parliament," an exasperated Gupta explains.
Gupta's inaugural speech is followed by a short presentation by Dewang Mehta, president, National Association of Software and Service Companies.
Mehta who heads the software industry's largest grouping is, obviously, ever present at every conference worth its session.
Today, he runs through a presentation that details the growth of the Internet in the country.
The number of Internet connections in the country has growth from 70,000 connections in 1997 to 160,000 in 1998. This year the figure is expected to touch the 340,000 mark and Internet is expected to have 1.4 million users in 1999.
Mehta declares that the first international gateway by a private ISP would be operational by November.
By March next year at least five private ISPs would have their own international gateways, he believes.
Mehta claims "This would remove one of the biggest bottlenecks faced by ISPs in terms of bandwidth. I hope by 2001 the number of Internet connections across the country would be 2 million and we would have at least 6 million users."
However, Mehta cautions that "We first need to have global telecom infrastructure, competitive tariffs, cyber laws and also we need to encourage entrepreneurs by creating an atmosphere for venture capital."
He announces that NASSCOM is set to launch a "mega" Web site to promote the Indian software industry.
Mehta's presentation is followed by the first keynote of the day.
Originally scheduled to be delivered by K B Chandrashekar, co-founder, Exodus Communications Inc, the keynote is now being given by Dan Russel, general manager, Intel's Architecture Content Group.
Russel's keynote session degenerates into a sales presentation for Intel's hardware products.
Throughout his keynote address all Russel's speaks about is how Intel is the best geared to transform companies into e-companies.
Russel claims, "Today we have a very vendor centric view of our businesses. But with the emergence of the Internet this will become customer centric. Over the next five to ten years this will take place in a more significant way. All businesses will become e-business."
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