Rural India has 31 million Internet users who have accessed Internet at least once in the past month and 38 million Internet users who have accessed Internet at least once in their lifetime, according to a I-Cube report on Internet in Rural India, compiled by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB.

Sample size: The company says this report was compiled by the research team of eTechnology Group, a division of IMRB International, through a combination of research techniques. The primary research was conducted in line with the annual I-Cube reports compiled and syndicated by eTechnology Group IMRB International. The syndicated research is based upon a primary research survey that interviewed around 15,000 people from various age groups, across SECs and genders in seven Indian states including Assam, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Here are some highlights from the report:

– As of June 2012, Rural India has 70 million computer literates, which accounts for 8.4% of the total rural population. It has 3.6 million Mobile Internet users, up by 7.2 times from 0.5 million Mobile Internet users in 2010. Mobile Internet users account for 12% of the rural Internet users.

– Of the 70 million Internet users, 31 million users access the Internet once every month and 38 million users have accessed Internet once in their lifetime, as of June 2012. In comparison, 12 million users accessed the Internet every month and 15 million users had accessed the Internet once in their lifetime, as of December 2010.

Points of Internet Access: Community Service Centers and Cyber Cafes are the primary points of Internet access in rural regions. 57.7% of the Internet users have used the Internet facilities in Community Service Centers. Rural users spend an average Rs 12 per hour for Internet access and they will have travel an average 6.6km to reach a Common service center. 29% of the Internet users however still have to travel more than 10km to access Internet.

Type of Information In CSCs: 81% of the Internet users in these community service centres access Education-related information in these centers, followed by 45% of the Internet users who access commercial services and 42% of the Internet users who access IT/Telecom services.

Purpose of Internet Access: 75% of the rural Internet users access the Internet for Entertainment purposes while 56% of the users make use of the Internet for communication purposes and 50% of the users access the Internet for online services like educational services and online job sites. 39% of the rural Internet users make use of social networking services and 34% of the rural Internet users make use of e-commerce portals. Interestingly, the report also notes that while awareness for social networking and e-commerce is relatively high at 60% and 65% respectively, the usage is quite low.

Rise in Vernacular Content Usage: 32% of the Internet users access Hindi content on the Internet and 21% of the Internet users access Telugu content on the Internet, indicating the rise of vernacular language usage in these regions. 79% of the users however still access English content on the Internet.

Internet Non-Users in Rural Regions

The non-users are divided into two sections – those who don’t know about the Internet and those who don’t have infrastructure to access the Internet.

Among the first set of people, 42% of the people were not aware of the Internet itself while 19% of the people think they need to learn how to use a computer, before starting to use the Internet. Among the second set of people, 59% of them don’t have an Internet connection while 39% of the people don’t have a computer at home and 35% of the people face improper power supply at their home.

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