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Press Release -- February 9th, 2016
Source: Nokia Siemens Networks

Nokia, Indian Institute of Technology-Madras to boost broadband connectivity in rural India

  • Aim is to leverage unlicensed spectrum to enhance broadband connectivity in rural India, enable the government’s vision of ‘Digital India’
  • Supports Nokia’s vision to expand the human possibilities of technology in a connected world
  • Aligns with Nokia’s Sustainability strategy to improve people’s lives with technology, enhanced through our Corporate Social Responsibility research program for rural development

09 February , 2016

New Delhi/Gurgaon, India – The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M), one of the country’s foremost educational institutions, has partnered with Nokia to create technology solutions that will enhance broadband connectivity in rural India. Under the 3-year partnership, Nokia will fund and provide technological expertise for research at IIT-M’s Center of Excellence for Wireless Technology (CEWiT). The project will evaluate the option of using unlicensed spectrum to deliver cost-efficient, last-mile broadband connectivity to remote rural communities in India, complementing the government’s National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) initiative.

Click to Tweet: News: @iitmadras, @nokianetworks in joint initiative to boost broadband connectivity in rural India #maketechhuman

Strengthening the foundation of ‘Digital India’

The research project aims to bridge the connectivity divide in India by broadening the reach of broadband in rural areas. As part of this research,  CEWiT at IIT-M will undertake the following measures:

  • Verify the feasibility of using unlicensed spectrum radio access technologies for cost-efficient, last-mile broadband connectivity
  • Complement the Indian government’s ambitious plans of providing fiber optic connectivity to 230,000 gram panchayats* by providing last-mile connectivity from gram panchayats to their respective villages
  • Create effective low cost rural access solutions based on Wi-Fi technology

Sandeep Girotra, Vice President and Head of India region, Nokia, said: “India is on the cusp of a digital revolution. We are really excited about this research collaboration with IIT-Madras, which will leverage its talent and innovation to drive the Indian government’s vision of empowering rural communities through broadband connectivity – an initiative that will revolutionize access to government services and the Internet.The successful implementation of this project is a key social development objective for Nokia in India.”

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, said: “Together with Nokia, IIT-Madras, through its Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology, will explore new avenues for getting affordable wireless broadband technology to rural India in an effort to bridge the digital divide. Our research will focus on leveraging the power of the Internet to accelerate the development of India’s rural communities, home to the vast majority of India’s population.”

Did you know?

At Nokia, we are committed to respecting people and our planet in everything we do, as well as innovating ways to connect the world for a better tomorrow. As a responsible organization that cares for the communities in which it operates, Nokia supports corporate social responsibility endeavors that further the development of India and its citizens. A case-in-point is the recent collaboration with “Save the Children” to protect children during disaster situations.

In collaboration with The Ecomomic Times, a leading publication, Nokia has also initiated a debate on how technology can improve the lives of citizens in India and around the world.

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About Indian Institute of Technology-Madras

Indian Institute of Technology-Madras is one among the foremost institutes of national importance in higher technological education, basic and applied research. It s a residential institute with nearly 550 faculty, 8000 students and 1250 administrative & supporting staff and is a self-contained campus located in a beautiful wooded land of about 250 hectares. The Institute has sixteen academic departments and a few advanced research centres in various disciplines of engineering and pure sciences, with nearly 100 laboratories organised in a unique pattern of functioning. It has established itself as a premier centre for teaching, research and industrial consultancy in India.

Please visit for more information.

About Nokia

Nokia is a global leader in the technologies that connect people and things. Powered by the innovation of Bell Labs and Nokia Technologies, the company is at the forefront of creating and licensing the technologies that are increasingly at the heart of our connected lives.

With state-of-the-art software, hardware and services for any type of network, Nokia is uniquely positioned to help communication service providers, governments, and large enterprises deliver on the promise of 5G, the Cloud and the Internet of Things.

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* A gram panchayat is the cornerstone of a local self-government organization in India of the Panchayati raj system at the village or small town level. There are about 238,000 gram panchayats in the country and more than 638,000 villages. Each gram panchayat has an  associated group of villages around it. The government has an ongoing flagship program, called NOFN (National Optical Fibre Network), to provide optic fiber connectivity to all gram panchayats in the country. The majority of the villages around the gram panchayat are within a radius of 20 km.

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