A recent report on ‘Internet in Rural India’ by the IAMAI and IMRB, shows that Rural India is getting fast on the information superhighway. According to this report, Rural India has 38 million claimed internet users and 31 million active internet users. Growing at a CAGR of 73 percent, the penetration of claimed internet users in rural India has grown from 2.6 percent in 2010 to 4.6 percent in 2012. During the same period, the penetration of active internet users has grown from 2.13 percent to 3.7 percent.
As per the report, by December 2012, the number of claimed internet users in rural India is expected to reach 45 million. This growth will also be driven by the government’s ambitious project to give broadband connectivity to 250,000 villages. The pilots for this project, being undertaken by Bharat Broadband are currently underway.
Dr. Subho Ray, President of IAMAI stated, “This is just the tip of the iceberg, in the next two years, a combination of affordable smart phones, optic fiber backbone and local language content is likely to change the beat all projections of internet growth in rural areas.”
The report further states that mobile phones are fast emerging as an important point of internet access in rural India. As of June 2012, there were 3.6 million mobile internet users in India, a growth of 7.2 times from 0.5 million in 2010. In rural India, Community Service Centers (CSC) and cyber cafes are the major point of access for internet users. While 57.7% of the internet users accessed internet through this common user points, around 12% of the internet users access internet on their mobile phones.
Entertainment is the primary driver of internet use in rural India. 75 percent of rural users use internet for entertainment while 56 percent use it for communications Users like to access Music, Videos and Photos for entertainment.Apart from this, around 81 percent of claimed internet users seek information pertaining to school / university and exam centers.