When I read this news in Economic Times, it was quite surprising. Just a few days back I had written about how our Internet penetration in India is quite low. However, this news says that we have reached the goal 3 years prior to targeted date.
It is amazing how we make up our numbers. I really don’t know what to believe. There have been so many surveys and so many news each reporting a new number on Indian Internet subscriber base. The articles have appeared quoting numbers from 3.5 million to 99 million internet subscribers.
It is surprising how have we reached the goal 3 years prior to the targeted date. Was the target so low or did I miss something ?
Yes, I did miss something, the target of 40 million subscribers was reached, but it includes 31 million mobile subscribers who have access to internet via their cell phones.
A question to you. Do you believe that Mobile Internet users should be included in total Internet subscriber count?
I personally don’t think they can be counted, for the simple reason that you access internet on mobile only for specific reasons and for a short time, mostly for email or alerts or similar such things. I am sure that less than 0.1 % people access internet on mobile the way do at their home or office computer.
Here are the numbers as quoted by Economic Times.
As of March 31, 2007, India had about 9.2 million internet subscribers on personal computers (PCs) and 31.3 million subscribers on mobile phones (both GSM/CDMA). The DoT had set a 40 million subscribers target in its broadband policy of 2004. DoT is now planning to set a new target.
However, when it comes to broadband, India is far behind the DoT’s target of 20 million broadband subscribers by 2010. The broadband target for 2007 was 9 million subscribers. But the government is still not able to fulfill the 3 million broadband subscribers target for 2005, even in 2007. As of March 31, 2007 India had about 2.3 million broadband users.
In today’s age even a dial-up connection is quite restrictive. And look at the broadband penetration at 2.3 million, just 2% of Indian population.
It is extremely important for the fate of Indian startups, that Internet penetration increases and that too at a fast clip.