Nagaland is keen to become the information technology (IT) hub of northeast India, and the digital revolution is opening up exciting possibilities for the entire region, a top state official said on Monday.

Nagaland Telecom secretary and Commissioner KD Vizo said that there is urgent need to set up IT infrastructure in the northeast region to help create opportunities for the people.

"One can use technology to serve as a digital bridge, an enabler that will help to reduce many of other disparities in society," said Vizo, speaking at the training programme named "Champion Skill Enhancement Program" for the North Eastern States. The training session was conducted by National Institute for Smart Government (NISG).

Stating that digital technology projects linked to financial inclusion, e-governance and citizen services can transform North Eastern Region, Vizo said: "Broadband connectivity can carry vital content like education, health services, market intelligence, agricultural information, which can play a bigger role in transforming communities."

India has an objective of achieving 175 million broadband connections by the year 2017 and 600 million broadband connections by the year 2020. 

Mentioning the delay in the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project, due to various constraints including landslides in the northeast, Vizo said there was need to pay more attention to aerial, wireless and satellite technologies which would provide better connectivity at a cheaper cost.

Earlier in an interview Vizo had said that the Modi government is set to spend Rs.7,000 crore (nearly $1 billion) on laying a fibre optic network in the northeastern states to improve internet connectivity.

However, Vizo, who has served the North East region for most of his career suggested an alternative technology – a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) – that can be operated from an unmanned airship or a balloon, with a better connectivity. 

This alternative comes at an estimated cost of Rs.1,750 crore, about 25 percent of the Rs.7,000 crore budget earmarked for the northeast out of the Rs.72,778 crore project.