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Rural India internet penetration still hovers low at 6.7%

Rural India internet penetration still hovers low at 6.7%
49 million active Internet users in rural India

Vy Dec 2013, there will be 72 million claimed Internet users; 49 million active Internet users in rural India

Internet in the Indian hinterlands is slowly catching up. According to a report, rural India will have 68 million claimed internet users and 46 million active users by the end of October 2013. The number of active internet users has seen 58% growth since June 2012.

The i-Cube report titled, ‘Internet in Rural India’ by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB, released today further estimates that by December 2013, there will be 72 million claimed Internet users and 49 million active Internet users in rural India.

An active internet user is one who has accessed internet at least once in the last one month.

“The number of computer literates in rural India by June 2013 has risen nearly two-fold to 125 million. As of June 2013, there are 59.6 million users in Rural India who have accessed internet at least once in their lives.

Although we are witnessing a steady growth, the penetration of 6.7% among the total rural population is still very low considering the huge rural population of 889 million,” said the report.

By June 2014, claimed internet users in rural India will rise to 85 million and active internet users to 56 million. The report also finds that around 61% or 25 million of active internet users access Internet at least once a week.

Like the trend across regions in India, rural India too has witnessed a surge in mobile internet usage. The report finds that there are 21 million active mobile internet users in rural India in June 2013 – a huge 5.3 times growth in 2013 over 2012 and nearly 47 times over 2010. It is estimated that by October 2013, there will be 25 million active mobile internet users and 27 million by December 2013.

“Mobile usage and hence, mobile internet usage has seen huge jump from the 2012 penetration levels. Compared to the 0.4% mobile internet users in 2012, the penetration has grown to 2.4%, indicating a substantial growth in the mobile internet user penetration levels,” said the report.

The report also finds that nearly 42% of the internet users prefer to access Internet only in Local languages. With more content becoming available in the local languages, more users will start using the internet, states the report.

The findings of the report reveal that majority of the rural internet population is not comfortable in accessing Internet in English and this is holding them back from using internet fully for other purposes than online entertainment.

According to the report, only 9% of the active internet users transact online. With a very low awareness level, Online transaction is still in its infancy and there is a pressing need to educate and inform the user of the benefits of the internet services to drive the growth of internet usage.

Article Source: http://www.business-standard.com/