Only 20% Indians connected to the Internet
A study conducted by the Pew Research Center, in 32 emerging and developing nations to record 8 online activities, states that 63% of Indians who are online use the Internet to socialise. Pakistan was not included in this survey due to insufficient sample size. The survey was conducted between March and June 2014. In another internet access survey, South and Southeast Asia rank the lowest in terms of internet access rates, in which only 20% of the Indian population has internet access.
54% of adult internet users in India accessed the internet daily. ‘Keeping in touch with friends and family’ emerged as the most popular activity with the online population of countries like Senegalese (100%), Ukraine (93%) and Chile (92%) using the internet to primarily do so.
The report added that less than two-thirds of online adults in India used social networking sites ranked at 65% as compared to China at 58% and Poland at 62%. Among those who used social networks in India, 79% said they liked to share views about music and movies, 72% liked to talk about sports, 48% about the products they used, 45% about politics and 36% about religion (which was the lowest in this group).
In Asia, adult internet users in India topped the percentage of users who took a class online. 38% got their political news online, 31% got health info online and 43% got government or services info online. 23% said they’d received or made payments online and only 22% said they’d bought stuff online. 55% of the adult Indian online population said that they’d looked or applied for a job online in the last 12 months as compared to 62% in Bangladesh and 53% in Kenya but only 18% in Lebanon.
Digital India connected 20,000 villages to broadband under NOFN
Under the Digital India initiative, as of April, 20,000 villages have been connected to broadband services under the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) plan, reports Trak.in. NOFN would also be renamed to BharatNet. The original plan which was to provide 100 Mbps connectivity to gram panchayats has been allegedly revised to provide between 2-10 mbps connections. So far, only 8% of the initial target has been achieved in 4 years. It would interest our readers to note that the TRAI defines broadband as internet connections above 512 Kbps.
A committee was set up by PM Narendra Modi to oversee and examine the Digital India vision has recommended that the budget of Rs 20,000 crore be increased to Rs 72,000 crore to enable broadband at Rs 150 per month in poor states. Citizens of developed states would pay Rs 250 a month to access the same. The distinction between poor and developed states was not mentioned.
The NOFN project was initiated in 2011 through funds from Universal Service Obligation Fund to provide broadband connectivity to 200,000 gram panchayats in India at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore. The government approved this project in late 2011 to provide e-services and e-applications throughout the country. It also created a public sector unit called the Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) and was supposed to be completed by 2013. 26 states and union territories signed MoUs to enable connectivity to 226,458 gram panchayats.
While India no longer has the slowest internet speeds in Asia, according to the study conducted by content delivery network Akamai Technologies for its Q4 2014 State of the Internet report, India’s average Internet speed also dropped the same quarter by 0.7%, holding steady at 2 Mbps.