Internet for all
The Sarbanda Sonowal government is mulling internet services to all households in the State under its ‘fibre to home facility’ dream project. IT Minister Keshab Mahanta has said that if every household is connected to a cable, consumers can avail of three facilities, mely telephone, television and internet. This is expected to eble extension of IT-eble services to everyone’s doorstep, to bring about transparency in governce, provide technological solutions to problems of poverty alleviation and bring about social transformation. However, this will remain a pipe dream if the BJP-alliance government does not first get cracking on its promise to make 24x7 power for all households in the State a reality. Thinking of broadband-linked computers without the power to run it is like putting the cart before the horse. Assam gained hardly anything on the power front in 15 years of Congress rule despite promises galore to light up every home. If thermal power projects are getting bogged down due to environmental concerns and hydro-power projects not even getting off the starting block due to mega dam protests, the new government in Assam has got a huge challenge on its hands to deliver on power. In Tamil du, the Jayalalitha government launched internet services to every household in March this year. Broadband ervices were provided in low-cost monthly packages with the state-owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation as the backbone. Kerala too began its march as a digital State on February this year by extending optical fibre network to provide affordable broadband connectivity to all households. This will be part of the rendra Modi government’s Digital India project, with the BharatNet initiative serving as a high speed digital highway to connect gram panchayats across the country. Assam should surely aim to join the IT bandwagon at the earliest, but before that it has to get around to generate sufficient power on its own.