India’s Euphoria over Internet Users

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Recent reports published in newspapers indicate that the number of internet users in India may cross the 300 million mark, overtaking US. According to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), India is all set to race past US to become the world’s second largest internet market. China leads internet with 600 million users. The report has also estimated that India’s internet user figures will cross 350 million marks by June 2015.

It’s a irony to hear this report because five months back, a report from Akamai on the ‘State of Internet’ highlighted that India ranks among the lowest in Asia-Pacific region with an average connecting speed of 1.7 Mbps speed. India was at the 118th position. China was at 79th position, while South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong were the top ranked countries. Even the global average internet speed (3.9 Mbps) is higher than India’s average internet speed.

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The most important aspect in the report was that India has the lowest rate of broadband adoption among the fast developing nations – 0.4 percent. The new report from IAMAI boasting about India’s growth in the internet race, once again blatantly states, communication as the primary purpose of accessing the internet. E-commerce and other internet related businesses are stepping up the internet revolution in India, but the spoilsport is the slow connection, which all these Indian based reports choose to ignore.

As of now, Indians conducting online transaction are still in the range of 10 to 15 percent. Flat internet speed and below average broadband speed lays little hindrance in boosting the transactions. Nearly 3 percent of the total internet users in India have access to broadband speed close to 4 Mbps. China’s average internet speed (for its 600 million users) is around 8.5 Mbps. In India, only 0.5-1 percent of users have access to 8 Mbps speed.

IAMAI’s numbers and various other studies conducted inside India showcase promising numbers, but at the same time numbers are also crux of India’s internet problem. Enabling infrastructure, producing cheap access devices, and providing high speed broadband access aren’t addressed in these reports. There’s no doubt that India is a fast growing market and we might become one of the leaders in e-commerce, but these insipid statistics are only creating a short-living hype.

INTERNET USERS IN INDIA

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