Where have Delhi’s ‘cool’ cyber cafes gone?
Cyber cafe culture, which was once booming, is now evolving and coming up with new marketing tactics to keep itself afloat in the city.
With new beginnings come new changes. One of the biggest development in the world of internet technology in 2013 is the introduction of 4G internet. This essentially means that one can now download a three hour long film in 30 minutes. While Delhi is getting the best services from the IT world, a certain section is finding it hard to cope with the progress. Cyber cafes, which grew in numbers in the last 10 years, are now facing problems attracting customers to ‘surf’ the net. Well, the reason is simple and straight — smartphones, laptops, easy WiFi access at every nook and corner of the city and much more. We decided to visit some of them and ask the owners how they are coping.
The one with the music shop Music and Cyber hut realised a long time back that the number of people who used to hang-out there to chat online or surf the net are decreasing by the day. They then decided to start selling Music CDs and DVDs on the side. The owner says, “Operating a cyber cafe that just provides facilities to surf the virtual world does not have much takers these days. We had to sustain our shop so we came up with this idea of opening a small music shop.”
The one which deals in property For Lokesh Malhotra, the owner of Samarth Cyber and Computer Planet, a cyber cafe was never his primary source of income. Speaking to us, Lokesh — who is also property dealer, emphasised the hard hitting reality that cyber cafes are currently going through. “With all this progress in the tele-communication sector we, as owners, have seen the worth of cyber cafes plummeting. You now have internet on your phones so coming to a cafe to surf the net is not that common as it was ten years ago.”
Rainbow Cyber point, which is relatively new as it opened four years back in 2009, knows that surfing the internet is not the primary motive of the customers at all. The owner says, “The point of cyber cafe providing just internet services is rather foolish.” The cafe also serves as gaming centre and helps students with their respective academic projects along with booking tickets for trains and flights.
They knew this would happen For Rajat Kapoor, the owner of the ISDN Café the dangers of sustaining a cyber café were evident right from the start. He therefore made surfing net one of the many services provided by his café. The other services include teaching of basic computer skills, a gaming centre, helping with student projects and selling snacks.
They haven’t changed For Connect Cyber café, nothing has changed since it came into being. In a tourist populated area of Delhi, the owners are more than happy just providing internet services and the business is still booming. Although they help booking railway and airline tickets, the owners claim it is only to make more profit. “See this is a tourist area and people generally end up taking printouts, and getting other information related to city,” he says.