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Indian government to introduce free Wi-Fi to over 1,000 rural villages

The Indian government has announced it will introduce free Wi-Fi hotspots to over 1,000 rural villages in the country. Participation in modern society is pretty much impossible without a good internet connection - but unfortunately there are still many parts of the world that are cut off from this, one example of this is in rural India where internet penetration levels remain dismally low.

However, in an effort to combat this - the Indian government will install 1,050 new Wi-Fi hotspots in rural villages that lack fast, accessible broadband. The innovative program is expected to cost around $62 billion - part of the project will see towers installed in these villages which will enable locals to connect to the towers via their mobile phones.

Spokesman for the Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT, Aruna Sundararajan said the pilot program would be entitled 'Digital Village' and said the primary vision of the project was to provide basic development services to rural areas through digital technology.

This is just the latest in a number of innovative projects carried out by Modi's government. Recently the government deployed a significant amount of fiber-optic cabling in areas all around the country.

India boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it is buoyed by a thriving technology sector that encompasses innovative start-ups, as well as the outsourcing giants India is renowned for. Officials have identified that providing better internet access to a greater number of the population will only serve to enhance the industry even further.

However, the matter of internet provision in India is still a fraught issue, social networking colossus Facebook tried to extend its 'Free Basics' program to the country, but it was subsequently banned by the government. Google have also had similar initiatives rejected.

Given that 'Digital Village' isn't tied to one particular foreign technology company, and is offered with no strings attached, it's less likely to attract controversy, and therefore more likely to succeed.