Pitroda holds Twitter conference to announce high-speed Internet connectivity to universities

PM's advisor fields questions from journalists and citizens on microblogging site

By Dinsa Sachan
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

By the end of this year, all public universities and research laboratories across the country will be inter-connected through the ambitious National Knowledge Network (NKN), said Sam Pitroda, advisor to the prime minister on public information infrastructure and innovations, on Tuesday. The announcement he made was important, but equally important was the mode he chose to relay it. The announcement was in the form of a tweet sent during a Twitter press conference, the first of its kind for India.

Approved by the Cabinet in 2010, NKN is intended to connect all institutions of higher learning and research labs through a high-speed Internet network. The 5,990-crore endeavor will aid knowledge sharing among students and scholars in the country.  Pitroda said 680 institutions have already come under the NKN umbrella. “The NKN is a game changer and is going to revolutionise the way we connect, collaborate and deliver education,” he wrote. 

Broadband connectivity for rural India

Pitroda also said that it won't be long before people in India's hinterlands will have access to broadband Internet. He tweeted he was hopeful broadband prices will come down after it is made available in rural areas. He said a national-level project to lay optical fibre, required for providing broadband services, in villages is in progress. BSNL, Power Grid Corporation of India, Railtel (the telecom arm of the Indian Railways) and some private players are also involved in this project, said Pitroda. “Pilot projects on panchayat connectivity are already underway; hopeful it will be done in next 18 months,” he wrote. “All 250,000 Panchayats will have fibre connectivity to ensure ubiquity,” he added.

Pitroda was flooded with queries from journalists and ordinary Netizens during the online conference.

This was India's first Twitter confererence. The Prime Minister's Office debuted on the microblogging site, increasingly used by governments and organisations worldwide for relaying information to the public, in January this year.

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