Microsoft India has entered into a partnership with Hughes to create a self sustaining IT infrastructure in rural areas by deploying broadband enabled ICT kiosks in about 200 towns and villages across the country.
The company would roll out about 5,000 such kiosks, which would be operated on a franchisee model and enable new entrepreneurs across the rural landscape to use technology for e-commerce, education and e-governance. It would lead to better communication and access to information through all round connectivity and offer people a platform to acquire skills sets, undertake e-literacy programmes for ordinary citizens.
Microsoft, as part of its rural computing initiative 'Project Saksham', would work with Hughes to set up the ICT kiosks across blocks. As part of the project, Hughes would provide a comprehensive business model to enable successful kiosk penetration in rural India offering B2B and B2C services and leverage its satellite broadband platform to remote pockets of India. Microsoft under its 'Saksham' initiative would create an engagement model with kiosks service providers and various governments for delivering e-government and other B2B services. It would also offer a 12 day IT literacy programme for kiosks operators, aimed at helping the operator become IT literate. The programme would be free of cost and be conducted in more than 60 locations across India. The kiosks would be run and managed by local entrepreneurs for providing content and services to people and ensure a sustainable return on investment.