After decades of very modest growth, telecom in India has taken off. While liberalisation of telecom sector created the conditions, the key to this take off has been a conscious effort in India to drive down the capital expenditure (CAPEX) of telecom infrastructure which made telecom affordable to large sections of Indian people. This paper discusses the role that Indian and Chinese telecom companies have played towards this reduction of per-line CAPEX and identifies technologies still dominated by the West. Telecom is now set to grow rapidly and India would achieve 200 million connections in less than a decade. However, this optimist situation is still, pretty much confined to urban areas. It is the growth of telecom and Internet infrastructure in rural areas, that have much greater potential. But harnessing of this potential requires special efforts. This paper presents a glimpse of how this could be made possible. © 2003 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.