The usage of internet has been growing steadily in India, especially since the advent of fast internet connections on mobile. According to latest government data, there was a total of 342.65 million internet subscribers at the end of March 2016, with 111.94 million users from rural areas.
The highest number of rural internet subscribers are from UP (East) circle, with 11.21 million users. Although the chunk of internet subscribers (approximately 70%) in India come from the urban areas, the government’s BharatNet project aims at having a 100% internet penetration in rural India.
The project, which is funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund, aims to deliver a broadband connection to all the 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats in the country by December 2018.
BharatNet is being executed by three PSUs of Bharat Broadband Network Limited — BSNL, Power Grid Corporation and RailTel — intends to deliver internet facilities to 1 lakh Gram Panchayats in its first phase by March 2017.
This will be done using a mix of underground and aerial optical fibre cables, radio and satellite, which will be shared among all the internet service providers on a non-discriminatory basis.
Maharashtra Leads With Highest Number of Internet Subscribers
Currently, Maharashtra has the highest number of internet subscribers in India at 29.47 million, followed by Tamil Nadu at 28.01 million, Andhra Pradesh at 24.87 million and Karnataka at 22.63 million.
New Delhi has the highest number of Internet subscribers in any city with 20.59 million, followed by Mumbai with 15.65 million and Kolkata with 9.26 million users.
According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), a total of 165 million people were using the internet at the end of March 2013 with 7 out of 8 users accessing it through their mobile phones.
We’ve grown in the number of Internet users by more than double in the past three years and if the BharatNet project turns out to be a success, internet penetration in India could exceed the 50% mark by the end of FY 2018.