Intel, the world's largest computer chip maker, has tied up with HCL Infosystems to announce the launch of the first of WiMax-enabled net tops and laptops in the country. WiMax broadband would help people access the internet in remote parts of the country and other places where wired broadband has failed to reach.
Unveiling the products, Intel chief executive Paul Otellini, who was in New Delhi for the occasion, said internet access should become a fundamental right, as it is a real indicator of economic growth. ''A 0.1 per cent increase in broadband penetration will create almost 300,000 jobs in India, according to our estimates,'' Otellini said.
The visiting Intel chief sounded upbeat on India's design and development capabilities, although the company has no plans to set up a manufacturing unit in the country.
State-run telcom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd said it would start rolling out WiMax services in about 1,000 blocks in the country by next month. India currently has about six million broadband connections, and the government has set itself a target to achieve 20 million connections by next year. But given the performance so far, most analysts believe the target is far-fetched.
''The government is committed to provide all panchayats with rural broadband in next three years. But the private sector should work towards lowering the cost of access device,'' minister of state for IT and communications Sachin Pilot said on the occasion.
Net tops are small laptops which use less power, and are meant primarily for accessing the internet. HCL Infosystems will make the WiMax-enabled laptops and net tops available within three months.