Cerf catches mobile wave

Vinton Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the internet, said this week that the future growth of the net will be driven by mobile devices rather than PCs.

Speaking at a conference in Bangalore on Tuesday, Cerf noted that while the internet-connected population has crossed the 1 billion user boundary, the net still only reaches one sixth of the world’s population.

Indeed, mobile technologies already reach in excess of 2.5 billion people worldwide and Cerf believes that the only way to connect the remaining 5 billion plus people to the internet is via mobile devices.

India itself is the fastest growing mobile market in the world in terms of net subscriber additions, with around 7 million new users signing up to mobile services per month.

However, Cerf, who works as an internet evangelist at Google, warned that affordability and decreasing the cost of communication was key to driving this new growth.

And this is a target the mobile industry has been working towards of late. Both the GSM and CDMA camps have embarked upon low cost 3G handset initiatives, with an eye to putting high speed devices in the hands of some of the world’s most impoverished communities.

Industry bodies have also acknowledged that it makes sense to bridge the digital divide, especially in places where infrastructure and electricity are problematic, using wireless technologies.

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