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India Crosses 500 Mn Internet Connections As Rural Users Surge

India Crosses 500 Mn Internet Connections As Rural Users Surge

India recorded a 65% growth in the number of internet connections from 2016

Development is in line with govt’s aim to achieve 500 Mn connections by 2018

Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra lead in connectivity

India has reportedly recorded 560 Mn internet connections at the end of September 2018, marking a 65% growth from 340 Mn connections in March 2016. This development comes three years after telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in 2015 that India will achieve 500 Mn connections by 2018.

Quoting Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, media reports have stated that 64% of the internet connections are from urban areas while 36% or around 194 Mn are from rural regions.

The report also added that five states including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana), Gujarat and Maharashtra, account for about 36% of the total internet connections in India.

India’s surge in internet connectivity is also fueled by the growth of smartphone users in the country. Owing to this increasing internet penetration, technology conglomerate Cisco has predicted that smartphone users in India will double to reach 829 Mn by 2022.

Internet Connectivity Trends In India

According to October 2018 TRAI report, India had 512.26 Mn internet subscribers including 65.14 Mn Narrowband subscribers and 447.12 Mn Broadband subscribers till the end of June. This was a 3.71% growth from a total of 493.96 Mn internet connections recorded at the end of March 2018.

The report also added that the number of internet subscriptions in the urban areas was 338.84 Mn and in rural regions it was 173.42 Mn.

With an aim to start of a digital transformation in India, the central government had launched its flagship programme ‘Digital India’ in 2015 to ensure that all the government services reach the Indian citizens digitally.

Under this project, various schemes such as Digital Locker, e-education, e-health and National Scholarships Portal were introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier this year, media reports also stated that the central government is also planning to announce the second phase of its Digital India programme.  Under the second phase, the government will focus on developing health, education, rural development, agriculture, energy and next-generation financial services.

[The development was reported by ET]