The independent think-tank and policy forum for digital communications, Broadband India Forum (BIF), lauded Facebook’s recent investment of USD 5.7 billion (Rs 43,574 crore) through a 9.99 percent stake in Jio Platforms. BIF hailed the move as a “big positive” for the digital sector in the country.
The think-tank believes that the decision to make such a significant investment in the midst of a global pandemic and its resultant economic fallout underlines the resilience, vitality and outlook of the sector for the future.
According to BIF, the partnership between Facebook and Jio could be beneficial to over 50 million micro, small and medium businesses, about 30 million small merchants, millions of small and medium enterprises in the informal sector and 100 million farmers across India.
The pact signed between WhatsApp, Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail to cross-leverage JioMart and WhatsApp is aimed at facilitating new business opportunities and enabling seamless digital connectivity between consumers and local businesses, shops and Kirana stores.
This is especially relevant in the present COVID-19 crisis, which has constrained consumer options, severely impacting the supply chain and standard business practices, forcing smaller businesses to resort to innovative measures to carter to the needs of the consumers.
Mr TV Ramachandran, President, Broadband India Forum, commented on the investment; “Facebook and Jio, both esteemed members of BIF, and leaders in their respective business verticals have come together through this move and reaffirmed the promise and potential that the future holds for the Digital Services sector in the country. The critical importance of this sector has been amply demonstrated by the major role it has played and continues to play in these difficult times to mitigate the ill-effects of the pandemic while maintaining near-normalcy in the country."
"BIF is happy to note that this investment decision will further boost India’s attractiveness in the global investment community, especially in the digital domain,” it added.
BIF also dismissed the concerns around net neutrality and data sharing rules being flouted. The association said in a statement; “BIF believes that this is erroneous, farfetched and not based on facts. Net Neutrality rules are now unambiguously written into the TSP licenses, and so they are inviolate.”
The think-tank also believes that the move will future strengthen the prospects of the broadband ecosystem in the country.Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.