Cheap accessibility makes a Net gain in India

Written by Ashok Kumar (Expressindia.com) | Updated: Sep 29 2007, 22:21pm hrs
Ber Sarai is just like scores of other Delhi villages where thousands of students from the country come to reside in the capital and prepare themselves for their future jobs. As per the classifications of the government, this area is classified as an urban village. But, and not to the surprise of everyone, this village is dotted with cafs, which are open for visitors throughout the day and night.

Not long back one had to think twice before spending an hour in that Internet caf which required spending quite a fortune to access that ubiquitous Net which opens the door of opportunities and raises the expectations of anyone who ventures on this window.

It is not uncommon to spot advertisements which seem to invite people by offering rates of Net surfing as minimal as Rs five per hour, a price which was unthinkable a little while back. Though there are many reasons for this dip in user prices, but, the one, which is more significant than others, is the growing number of users with each passing day, which is luring entrepreneurs to venture into the Internet caf business.

This growth of cafes in turn is giving rise to competition, which has forced the user prices to fall to a quarter of what they used to be, say, two years back. If one goes to categorize the type of businesses mushrooming in this village, one can easily find out that the Internet business outnumbers every other category in the area including the common grocery and vegetable shops. It is not an exaggeration of the fact to note that the Internet cafes dot each and every lane of the village.

Now, it would not be a wrong assumption if one sees this urban village of Delhi as the microcosm of the development in the growth of the Net cafes throughout the country. Just as, it is a commonplace thing to spot the kiosks with the facilities of national and international calling, Net cafes are closely following the growth path.

Earlier when the accessibility was not as affordable as it is today, in terms of prices, big number of surfers would abstain from long sittings and the usage of Net was limited to get the results of the various competitive examinations and other information, which was only available on the web. Lounging on the terminals of the caf was quite a luxury, which everyone could not afford without burning that pricey hole in their pockets. Surfing was not for everyone, and, had a limited approach to the wider spectrum of the users.

But the considerable fall in the prices has made this essential thing a necessity in the daily lives of most of the users. It would not be out of place to quote that the price factor has been a big factor in making that Mouse in the reach of every hand, in a country where the majority of the population hardly classifies as a middle class.

It would make an interesting research to see whether the low prices has multiplied the Net users or is it because of the rise in the users the prices have looked southwards. Whatever may be the cause of this welcoming phenomenon, one can easily predict the phenomenal rise of more Ber Sarais in the country to lead the Netizens to the Net gain.