India is in a grave danger of missing the internet revolution unless it revamps its internet infrastructure, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt told CNBC-TV18 in an exclusive interview.
"India is well behind in the web services model that the rest of the world is adopting. It is crucial for India to invest and enable fast fibre internet connectivity within the country, between the country and the other countrie," Schmidt said.
The search-engine giant however is hopeful that India will soon be able to implement much needed reforms for better internet connectivity. Schmidt also talks about the growing role of smart phones in technology revolution.
Below is the verbatim transcript of the interview
Q: What are your views on India's internet infrastructure?
A: I am worried that India would find the last wave of computing. It is well behind in the web services model that the rest of the world is adopting. It is crucial for India to invest and enable fast fibre internet connectivity within the country, between the country and the other countries, etc. We know from lots of experience that there are many talented Indian software programmers just waiting to use that. My guess would be that having being satisfied with the great success of IT, the Indian government and the leadership has made the same mistake that companies do, they rested on their own laurels. They said "hey, this is really good" without understanding that the technology changed so quickly. The good news is that the people I have met in my visit so far are all committed to change all that within the next year. So, very soon India will get the fibre optic networks in place, the mobile networks in place.
Q: But why did we miss that explosion, was it policy, was it just lethargy?
A: I don't think anybody really knows that. India's connectivity to the internet has always been weak. There were an insufficient number of under sea cables to actually handle the bandwidth; many of the fibre networks were used by private parties as against public, the Indian infrastructure did not get enough attention, the regulators were probably slower to give out enough offices and the telecommunications industry does not have enough capitalisation. So these are all problems that are being addressed literally this year.
Q: You spoke about the great revolution that we have had with smartphones and the tablets. What is the future of technology from here, what is going to be the next big revolution?
A: The big future is still smartphones and the vast majority of Indians will encounter the internet on a smartphone. It will be a low cost smartphone of great power. They will deal with health and medicine that way, they will deal with education, go entertain themselves, go build businesses on these smartphones.