India Lacks Internet Access

September 7, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. hinder (v.) [hin-der] – to cause delay, interruption or difficulty
Example: An unhealthy diet hinders a child’s proper growth.

2. forecast (n.) [fawr-kast] – a prediction of what will happen in the future
Example: According to the weather forecast, there will be no rain tomorrow.
3. quadruple (v.) [kwo-droo-puhl] – to increase the number or amount four times
Example: The consistent increase in sales quadrupled the company's annual profit.

4. infrastructure (n.) [in-fruh-struhk-cher] – the basic facilities, buildings, or systems serving a country, area, or city
Example: Building high-standard infrastructures indicates development.  

5. integrate (v.) [in-ti-greyt] – to combine or be part of something
Example: Integrating in a foreign culture is hard in the beginning.

Read the text below.

Despite being one of the global leaders in information technology, India lacks the capability to provide Internet access to its citizens. Experts say this can hinder India's long-term growth.

Internet access in India’s rural areas is expected to rise from 12.1 million to 24 million by the end of the year. However, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), only 3% of Indians in rural areas will be able to enjoy its benefits.

India's overall Internet usage is also expected to be left behind despite forecasts that global Internet access will quadruple by 2015.

Analysts say that the lack of infrastructure, like stable electricity and landline networks, causes the shortage in Internet access. In addition, the general public opposes technological advancements. Indians generally believe that authorities need to focus on access to food and water instead of computers and telephones. Politicians, mainly supported by the poor, cannot help but prioritize the people's basic needs over technological development.

According to technology consultant Ulrik McKnight, prioritizing internet access will lead to several benefits, especially for education. For example, accessing course materials online would be much cheaper and convenient than building schools in villages.

Even though India is home to big software companies like Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, the country still needs a technological revolution. IAMAI believes India may lose its competitive advantage unless the Internet is integrated into the daily lives of its people.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What basic needs are more important than technological advancement?
·         Do you think technological development is also important? Explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages of having Internet access?
·         Do you think our lives have been improved by the Internet? Explain your answer.

September 7, 2011