The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bharti eyes distance learning

New Delhi, Aug. 22: The data and broadband company of the Bharti group plans to focus on distance education as a key growth area for the company

The market for satellite broadband equipment in India is expected to grow almost five times to about 110,000 units in the next five years. It is likely to be driven by new applications such as distance education, internet, rural connectivity, banking and finance and gaming, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

According to the report, satellite communications will be the solution for the last-mile access problem in India.

Terrestrial connections in India are either unavailable or unreliable — whereas satellites provide ubiquitous and reliable coverage. Data and broadband group of Bharti has moved in to tap the market in this high potential growth area.

The corporate segment is increasingly using the distance education tool for dissemination of information and training in its remote offices. It is estimated that the Indian training segment generated $400 million worth of revenue last year.

According to Merrill Lynch, the global e-learning market is estimated to grow to $25 billion in 2003 from $3.5 billion in 2000. There are surveys which indicate that more than 85 per cent of the schools will have some form of e-learning (IDC - USA).

Speaking at a distance learning seminar here today, Ashok Juneja, chief executive officer of BBNL, said, “The economics of much cheaper education-spend per person compare to earlier options, increasing penetration of PCs, PC skills and PC-based education tools and kits, emergence of reliable, cost efficient communication infrastructure with broadband capabilities are some of the reasons that are fuelling the growth.”

Leveraging the broadband very small aperture terminal (VSAT) infrastructure as well as its terrestrial presence in the country Bharti is already offering the infrastructure facility to the distance education programs of Sikkim Manipal university of health, medical and technological sciences and the Delhi Public School and its network of schools in the country.

Juneja said: “SkyMantra Solution, which is an internet protocol VSAT from Bharti, is facilitating distance education. The solution enables connectivity to remote locations without the need for a local internet service providers or even a telephone line. In addition, it enables high speed data access to data, even digital video broadcast.”

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