The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launchedits heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite named GSAT-11. The launch was made on the back of a French rocket from the Spaceport in the French Guiana.
According to Dr KailasavadivooSivan, ISRO chairman, ‘GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible Gram Panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of Digital India Programme’. The Bharat Net Project is the Indian government’s flagship programme that aims to enhance public welfare with schemes such as e-banking, e-health, e-governance among others.
Internet access is growing rapidly, yet large groups of people remain unconnected to the Internet. As of 2015, about 43% of people had access to the Internet (in developing countries only 34%). Access to ICTs is part of the Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to ‘significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020’ (Goal 9.c).
The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.