CONNECTING THE DOTS
C-DOT | ESTABLISHED IN 1984
Set up as an autonomous body, the initial mandate of the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) was to develop digital exchanges. Within a short span of time, telecom-switching products suited to Indian conditions started revolutionising rural telecommunication. C-DOT has today traversed the complex telecom landscape, from developing products in the area of optical, satellite and wireless communication to proving its expertise in ATM and next generation networks.
Sam Pitroda conjured up the organisation out of thin air. Once, while staying at a hotel in India, he tried calling his wife in Chicago but the phone lines were dead. “I told myself, with a little bit of ignorance and lot of arrogance, that I will fix this,” says Pitroda. With the help of a friend, he got an appointment with then prime minister Indira Gandhi. While waiting for her, Pitroda got to meet her son Rajiv Gandhi who showed great interest in Pitroda’s pitch for rural telecom and digital switching. Eventually, Indira Gandhi too was satisfied and C-DOT was established with Pitroda at the helm.
THE ROAD AHEAD
C-DOT has been working on a device to help roadside vendors and shopkeepers provide wi-fi internet services to customers for as low as Rs 10. The device, Public Data Office (PDO), will cost under Rs 50,000.
CALLER’S TUNE Sam Pitroda at the C-DOT office in Delhi