by July 4, 2009 0 comments

With mobile networks reaching just about every remote area of India and
mobile rates becoming dirt cheap, PCO owners have been witnessing a considerable
fall in their revenues. BSNL which has a large number of PCOs in India, wanted
to provide PCO owners an affordable way to sustain their current business as
well as utilize its huge PCO network. With the partnership of Intel, BSNL and
ITZ cash, Project e-PCO has been implemented across six states in India, with
the goal of converting PCOs in the country into Internet service centres.

Company Scenario
Before Deployment
  • PCO owners experiencing a drop in revenure due to mobile revolution
After Deployment
  • PCO owers are able to make additional revenue by moving to ePCO
    business model and offer Internet services to people living in rural

Project Heads

Srinivas Tadigadapa, District Mngr, World Ahead Program, Intel
Rakesh Babu

ePCO model is aimed at equipping existing PCOs with a computer (desktop or
notebook), a BSNL broadband connection so that they can offer Internet based
services to citizens in the communities around them. It’s an additional revenue
model for PCO owners and small businesses, an entrepreneurship opportunity for
aspiring entrepreneurs and for citizens. It allows them to access Internet based
services such as utility bills, booking train and bus tickets, accessing
school/colleges results, admission details, movie tickets, astrology,
matrimonial services, job sites , mobile recharges and other similar services.
However, PCO owners have to make an intital investment of Rs 40k — 50K to avail
a PC, broadband connection and a ITZ cash card with a recurring cost of Rs 1000
— 1500 per month for paper, cartridge, electricity bill and broadbad. Tie-up
with ITZ cash also meant the citizens who do not have credit cards can also
peform transactions online. Intel’s role under the project is to do program
conceptualization, awareness and initial marketing support & development,
implementation lead, aligning services, affordable hardware through channel

Currently approx 250 ePCOs are operational under this project. Also training
workshops were conducted at 22 BSNL SSA locations for PCO owners across 6
states. Under this, basic PC training was imparted to attendees and the business
model was explained.

Overall, this project not only offers additional revenues for PCO owners but
also brings benefits of Internet to rural India. The project is a demonstration
of the potential Internet to deliver citizen centric services and enable an
affordable business model for entrepreneurs. The investments in making Internet
all pervasive is going to bring down costs, improve accessibility, boost
consumption, and deliver overall inclusive economic growth for India.

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