STL Garv: Connecting Rural India

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. Why is Inclusive Growth Crucial for the $5 Trillion Economy?
  2. Future with ‘Garv’
  3. How Will Garv Bring Connectivity to Rural Regions?

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

Overview

This digital access point leverages BharatNet’s rural broadband connectivity and the power of future technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things to provide a multitude of community-centered services such as quality education, improved healthcare, increased agricultural output and enhanced security.

STL Garv

Why is Inclusive Growth Crucial for the $5 Trillion Economy?

Presenting the Budget 2019-20, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman talked about India achieving a $5 trillion economy by 2024. This is possible only if we are able to improve rural lives and catalyse the rural economy. To achieve this dream we need to do a lot more than making the internet live. BharatNet, the world’s largest rural broadband project is aimed at providing fibre-led broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats. But is this enough to transform millions of lives? How do we move from connectivity to transformation? The answer to this lies in ‘applied infrastructure’. We need to provide integrated digital infrastructure and services to rural communities to bring BharatNet to life.

 STL Garv – Innovation Where It Matters

STL GARV is a rural development initiative of Sterlite Technologies Ltd (STL). It is a digital access point for villages which enables access to multiple digital infrastructure and services for rural communities.

Garv, meaning ‘pride’ is designed to instil a sense equality in people of rural India. STL Garv aims to utilise BharatNet to improve the quality of lives in rural India and to bridge the rural-urban digital divide.

STL Garv platform has a host of features like – WiFi hotspot, interactive screen, biometric check, power backup with fast charging, camera and multi-directional microphones, ultra sound sensor for gestures, ultra HD display screen, CCTV solution, IoT board and voltage regulators. It provides a complete suite of applications through a strategic partnership model, to meet the requirements of entire cross section of villagers and this is bound to increase as the project gathers steam.

Presently, STL Garv’s pilot is running in Jansa village in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, Thummaluru village in Rangareddy district of Telangana and Kalambeshwar village in Akola district of Maharashtra. STL Garv has created tangible impact in these areas through meaningful digital services, user friendly interface and easy accessibility.

A ‘Garv’ Future

Describing his experience with Garv, Ram Maurya, a resident of Jansa village in Varanasi said

“BharatNet was present earlier too. But it was when STL Garv arrived that we realized the benefits of data connectivity and now we will continue to use it.”

Presently, STL Garv platform supports Hindi, Marathi and Telugu but in future it will support all official Indian languages. Not only this, Garv will also support Wi-Fi Connectivity, AR/VR Training, and many others. Using Garv, local operators can provide wireline or wireless connection to villagers with the click of a button. Using haptic devices, villagers can train themselves on different skill sets as per their choice in an AR/VR environment.

How Will Garv Bring Connectivity to Rural Regions?

Once the pilot is over, STL is planning to launch the product in villages with the support of state and central governments. STL Garv will maintain the kiosks and will focus on hardware and software updates. The company will also be open for content partnerships —both with government and private entities — for e-Governance, tutoring, e-Health, e-Education and much more. Going forward, people can avail the services on a pay per use model.

STL Garv enables villages to have access to more than 85 different functions and features in an easy to use, easy to maintain form factor with effective usage of AI, IoT (Internet of Things) and cloud computing to create a solution tailor-made for BharatNet. STL Garv can be configured to meet the needs of rural communities by providing city like services to rural people at a fraction of the cost as the platform is robust, resilient and meant to function in rural operating conditions with minor tweaking of services depending upon local requirements.

FAQs

What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

An optical fibre cable is a cable type that has a few to hundreds of optical fibres bundled together within a protective plastic coating. They help carry digital data in the form of light pulses across large distances at faster speeds. For this, they need to be installed or deployed either underground or aerially. Standalone fibres cannot be buried or hanged so fibres are bunched together as cables for the transmission of data. This is done to protect the fibre from stress, moisture, temperature changes and other externalities. There are three main components of a optical fibre cable, core (It carries the light and is made of pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) with dopants such as germania, phosphorous pentoxide, or alumina to raise the refractive index; Typical glass cores range from as small as 3.7um up to 200um), Cladding (Cladding surrounds the core and has a lower refractive index than the core, it is also made from the same material as the core; 1% refractive index difference is maintained between the core and cladding; Two commonly used diameters are 125µm and 140µm) and Coating (Protective layer that absorbs shocks, physical damage and moisture; The outside diameter of the coating is typically either 250µm or 500µm; Commonly used material for coatings are acrylate,Silicone, carbon, and polyimide).

An optical fibre cable is made up of the following components: Optical fibres – ranging from one to many. Buffer tubes (with different settings), for protection and cushioning of the fibre. Water protection in the tubes – wet or dry. A central strength member (CSM) is the backbone of all cables. Armoured tapes for stranding to bunch the buffer tubes and strength members together. Sheathing or final covering to provide further protection.

The five main reasons that make this technology innovation disruptive are fast communication speed, infinite bandwidth & capacity, low interference, high tensile strength and secure communication. The major usescases of optical fibre cables include intenet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.

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