CON­NECT­ING THE DOTS

C-DOT | ES­TAB­LISHED IN 1984

India Today - - STATES - —Kaushik Deka

THE AIM

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.

CALL­ING HOME

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

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