Thursday, December 2, 2010

Telephones and Telecommunications in Bangalore City

I happenned spend my childhood near a major Telecommunication giant in ITI but the telecommunication scenario in Bangalore was as good or bad as any city in India of that time. Having a telephone at home was a matter of great prestige and only very few had it- less than a hand full. To get a telephone one had to wait years on years so much so that no one applied for one until he had some very pressing reason. Iam talking of the era between 1970 and 1985.

In the entire area of Durvaninagar I think the Panchayat chairman by name Sreenivasa Reddy had a phone with number 58702. Even he could manage a telephone only in 1982 or so or may-be slightly earlier. When I was at Calicut I used to very rarely call up this number and send message to my home. The sons of Mr. Srinivasa Reddy by name Raja and Babu were kind enough to come all the way and inform my father or mother - and Iam thankful today for the trouble they used to take. Note that strowger exchanges were the order of the day making it impossible to expand the telephone system beyond few connections.

Things began to change unexpectedly and drastically in the early 1990's and during the era of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Sam Pitroda and his organization called C-DOT made sweeping cjhanges on the telecommunications horizon of India overnight forcing the country to shed its tag of a developing economy to atleast a quasi-developed one and the city of Bangalore has gone through these stages and adjusted to them very fast. What c-dot possibly did was to create electronic exchanges and with that exploded telephone connections to the surprise and surmise of all around. Every single nook and corner of Durvaninagar has a telephone connection and land-lines have become a thing of the past and might be getting fast discarded for mobile and wire-less telephony.

The interesting juncture in this metamorphosis would be the year 1997 when both the internet and Mobile telephony made in-roads almost at the same time or simultaneously. The mobile companies to start with were JT Mobiles and Spice telecom. A call from a mobile of that time was costly by any standards - around eight rupees for one call. Gradually companies like Airtel and many others hold sway over telecom all over India and Bangalore. The chaotic growth of Bangalore over the past decade can be attributed to the growth of Mobile telephony.

Compared to what it was......Telecommunications should be anything but world-class today in Bangalore and possibly sets standards for the world. Anywhere you find a coin booth from where one could make a call to any land-line or mobile anywhere around the world for a few coins. This developing country of one time must have developed and grown very fast when the world was asleep and its own constituents like me aghast at the churn; growth and change a swift and virulent pull which might make many cities and communities follow suit.

No comments:

Post a Comment