[TechSparks 2020] India is headed towards its own domain destination, says NIXI CEO Anil Kumar Jain

Speaking on the last day of the 11th edition of TechSparks, NIXI CEO Anil Kumar Jain spoke about India emerging with its own Internet ecosystem, leading the march towards Ipv6, and enabling 5G even at the grass-root levels.

The Internet has become as important as oxygen, and the Government of India and organisations like the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) are leaving no stone unturned to provide it to every person in this country, as soon as possible.

Anil Kumar Jain, CEO, National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), announced at TechSparks 2020 that NIXI is happy to provide special assistance and rebate to startups, and small and medium businesses, to use Bharat’s domain name .in, as the vision is to provide a domain to each Indian just like the Aaadhar Card and reach out to the last person in the country.

Speaking to YourStory’s Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma in a virtual chat during the event, Anil said there are already 740 million internet users in the country but in a promising sign, over 280 million of new Internet connections had come in from the rural areas in the last six months, even overtaking the demand from urban areas.

This proves that mobile 3G and 4G networks have penetrated the rural areas and rural economy is growing, and that is why, they are able to afford these connections, he added. Anil further asserted that it is now time to empower entrepreneurs in non-metro cities.

He added that NIXI is making several efforts to popularise local languages in content development and content consumption, and said that India is the only country which provides .Bharat domain in 22 Indian languages. With content development happening in local languages, every rural man should be able to access that content through the Internet medium in their native language, he said.

Besides this, he said the seemingly big vision of making the whole country Internet-enabled and the Prime Minister’s project of Bharatnet is not a far-fetched idea. Rather, the government hopes to extend 5G to rural India as well when it launches the 5G network in India in 2021.

“Trials are underway,” said Anil. From Internet speed of 64 Kbps to 128 Kbps in the year 2000, we are now talking about 50 to 100 Mbps and even 8 Gbps in the corporate world, he added.

Once the whole country is connected with fibre internet, both rural and urban areas will have access to high-speed Internet, and that day is not too far, he said. In this detailed, humble, and candid conversation, Anil shared many real-life case studies from across India.

He highlighted on the scale of video consumption happening in rural India, and how entrepreneurs and farmers in villages should be able to use broadband and internet to grow their business, eventually resulting in the growth of GDP and economy.

Speaking about Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), which is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), Anil Kumar said that NIXI is vigorously promoting the adoption of IPv6 and has taken several steps to promote it, such as awareness programmes and training modules. It is now also planning an online certification based on the recorded module.

“This will also help people to get a job in the growing Internet industry,” said Anil. He also said that India is the top country in IPv6 adoption, and about 69 percent of the devices in India are IPv6 enabled. “We have more than 6.6 billion IPv6 addresses and 11 million Ipv4 being consumed in the country. We hope that India should be able to put a big flag on IPv6 use in the world,” said Anil Kumar.

Anil Kumar Jain, CEO, National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI)

On a question on what NIXI is doing to ensure a free and fair play between internet service providers (ISPs) in the country, he said, "There are 1890 ISPs operating in the country out of which 450 are active, those are the people who report their monthly progress to TRAI. We are able to see both small and big ISPs growing. The difference is that a bigger ISP has deeper pockets and so can provide better service, but a smaller ISP is a niche player and can offer you more tailored plans."

Talking about the Bharatnet project and where we stand on it, he said, “Bharatnet is aimed to initially connect all village panchayats in the country. Right now, over 1,50,000 are already connected, and will soon cover all the panchayats, and then expand from village panchayats to all villages by 2024 with 100 Mpbs speed in villages. Our aim is that every school, panchayat office, primary healthcare centre, and police station in the rural areas should be Wi-Fi connected.

“We also aim to integrate rural and semi-urban to become a larger part of the economy growth with internet connectivity,” he added.

On being asked how the government’s plans for 5G network, Anil Kumar initially spelled out the difference between 3G, 4G, and 5G networks. He then said that the Department of Telecom along with institutes like IITs have set up the Centre for Excellence (COEs), and they are conducting research on use cases.

Various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have been given spectrum free of cost for conducting trials and with this kind of research going on, the hope is that sometime in 2021, the first launch of 5G will happen in the country, including the rural areas.

TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.

Edited by Anju Narayanan


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