The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ICE-ing on software cake brings cheer

New Delhi, Jan. 5: The Indian software sector is set to cash in on the convergence of information, communications and entertainment (ICE) in the next two years and the results of the sectoral growth are likely to emerge by this year-end.

The software sector alone is projected to ratchet up revenues to $ 50 billion by 2005 and is expected to draw the biggest benefits from the growing demand for convergence products.

S. Ramakrishna, senior director, head of the software development division in the ministry of communications and information technology, says, “Convergence will fuel the growth of software export. But more importantly, in the next 12 months the software companies will focus on the domestic market.”

“Also, it will be a global trend where software companies will look at their domestic markets for additional revenue. The government will have to keep this trend in mind while making future policy decisions and taxation of the sector,” he added.

Internet and development of telecom infrastructure will fuel the growth of software sector.

The demand for high bandwidth and its availability is also expected to help the sector.

The multimedia and data networks, particularly for the purpose of electronic commerce, electronic learning and medical application, is also expected to provide a fillip to this sector. It is also optimistic about a strong demand from consumer electronics and personal computer manufacturers.

“The reliability and security of the telephone networks, the simplified network management due to standard interfaces and intelligence incorporated in products and importantly the elimination of barriers that separate the three domains —telecommunications (transporter), computers (equipment) and entertainment (content) will generate the necessary value due to the converged network,” said Ramakrishnan.

Although internet usage in India is growing rapidly, it isn’t as widespread as it should be because of poor computer and telephone penetration, especially in rural areas.

Ramkrishnan feels growth prospects and the pace of technology induction are very promising. “Diverse applications are emerging, along with better backbone, last mile wireline and wireless infrastructures. But the dream of broadband 2 megabits per second applications for the home may take some more time than is being projected.”

“The public telephone, cable, satellite, local area networks will be consolidated into the information highway business. The Indian ICT market is expected to grow by 19 per cent from $ 22 billion in 2001 to $ 52 billion by 2006 with communications contributing 41 per cent, IT 35 per cent and entertainment 24 per cent,” he added.

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