Home An ISP Offers A Cloud for India – More Like AOL, Less Like the Open Web

An ISP Offers A Cloud for India – More Like AOL, Less Like the Open Web

We are winding down the long holiday weekend here in the United States but on the other side of the world, the news cycle is in full gear.

And so the story about a new cloud service in India caught our attention as it demonstrates how the cloud is reaching millions of people who have no access to a computer nor a credit card. It also is illustrative of how the cloud will be more for a global community of mobile users who access a service that is more like AOL than the open Web.

Sify Technologies is a a large Indian Internet service provider. It’s so large that it is planning to lay undersea cable between Delhi and Singapore for better connected networks between India and the economically powerful city state.

The company is a powerhouse on par with our very largest telecommunications companis in the United States. But its customers do not live in suburban tract houses with desktops and laptops for Mom, stepdad and the kids. The Sifi customer has a mobile phone.They go to cyber cafes to connect to the Internet. They live in rural communities.

And so that is why Sifi is launching “Sify mylife,” a suite of cloud-based applications for the millions of people in India who do not own computers nor have Internet access.

It’s an interesting play as the service leverages the cloud but in many ways is more akin to the American Online we knew in the mid-1990s. It seems fitting that millions of people would be drawn to a service that give them access to the Internet. Just like AOL did, millions of people can get access to the Sify service. But now the availability is of a different flavor with SaaS type services such as spreadsheet applications and word processing.

Sify will offer the service through its network of 1,200 cyber cafes. The cafes are operated as a franchise. They use the company’s broadband connections for Internet access.

Sify will also offer a hardware device to other cyber cafes in India that will be equipped with the software. That gives the service additional significance. Again, as we have seen before, hardware is becoming so affordable that to create a branded device makes sense as a way to create a controlled experience in the cloud. We’re in the first generation of cloud-based devices that will serve as ways to conduct commerce all within the network of one provider, not the open Web.

According to Computerworld, the cloud service will offer applications that allows people to purchase travel tickets, entertainment and educational services. People may use Sify to pay bills online without using credit cards..

How? Customers will pay cash to the people running the cyber cafe, making it a viable service for the millions of people in India who do not have credit cards or do not feel comfortable with paying online a credit

The service is targeted at the large number of people who do not have credit cards or aren’t comfortable making credit card payments online.


“About 52 million urban Indians were active internet users in September last year, according to a report released jointly by the internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), and research firm IMRB International. Active users are defined as those who used the Internet at least once a month. About 37 percent of these users accessed the Internet through cyber cafés, according to the report. The percentage of people who use cyber cafés is expected to be higher in rural areas.”

Sify will also team with software developers to launch storage services and applications on the platform.

The Sify mylife service is a contrast to how the cloud is being marketed in the United States. Consumer services like Sify became obsolete with the advent of the open Web. But in India, the Internet is not as widely accessed as it is here in the United States. But people still do want to use online services. Sify may very well fill that gap.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.