In India, just one fifth of the adult population can access the Internet. The necessary infrastructure necessary just hasn’t been in place – especially in poorer or rural areas. But now the richest man in India is hoping to change that with a plan to offer free 4G Internet to one billion people.
Mukesh Ambani started Reliance Jio, a mobile network service. The network is available for over 80 percent of India, and Ambani’s goal is to offer Jio – which translates as “live life” from Hindi – to 90 percent of Indians by March 2017. From text on the Jio website, it appears Ambani’s dreams are even larger: “Jio Digital Life will give the power of data to each Indian, to fulfill every dream and collectively take India to global digital leadership.”
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To celebrate the new network, Ambani is offering the service for free through the end of 2016. After that date, cheap plans are still available; Indians could use Jio for 149 rupees, around $2.25, each month. At a company meeting, Ambani said, “Anything and everything that can go digital is going digital – at an exponential rate. Life is going digital.”
To offer the revolutionary, fast service that reaches more of the Indian population, Ambani had to build infrastructure. He erected almost 100,000 telecommunications towers, and spent billions to do so. Reliance Jio will be able to use the radio frequencies of Reliance Communications, a company of which Ambani’s brother Anil Ambani is chairman. According to Mukesh Ambani, Jio can now reach 200,000 villages and 18,000 cities. Most Indians will probably hop on Jio via smartphones.
According to Forbes, Ambani is worth $22 billion. He’s the chairman of Reliance Industries, a conglomerate that includes businesses in the oil and gas and petrochemicals industries. The richest man in India, Ambani is the 36th richest person in the world.
Via CNN Money
Images via Wikimedia Commons (1,2)