India’s Broadband Penetration Remains Dismal, Ranks 122nd In World!


With the internet penetration increasing year-by-year in India, most of us would be tempted to say that India has progressed a lot in terms of internet subscribers and thus, broadband penetration. Unfortunately, it is not so. One look at a recently released report by Broadband Commission and the bubble goes bust.

The Broadband Commission For Digital Development, a United Nations set-up, launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, has come out with their Annual Broadband Penetration 2013 Report. With this Report, the Broadband Commission expands awareness and understanding of the importance of broadband networks, services, and applications for generating economic growth, and for achieving social progress. The Commission has viewed broadband as a cluster of concepts: always-on, high-capacity connectivity enabling combined provision of multiple services simultaneously.

Global Internet Penetration

According to the report, in India, broadband has already generated nearly 9 million direct and indirect jobs, while a 1% increase in broadband penetration has potential to add US$2.7 bn or 0.11% to Indian GDP in 2015.

Already CISCO pilot projects in several states in India have resulted in over 600,000 student hours of education delivery, 10-12% improvement in attendance and a 19% increase in the performance of nine schools across three districts of the state of Karnataka. Healthcare services have been delivered via twenty centers, across eight districts in three states (Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh), resulting in over 50,000 patient consultations, with hundreds of treatments for malnourished children and consultations with expectant mothers.

National broadband plans

India Broadband Stats

In 2011, India adopted the National Optical Fiber Network policy. However, India ranks a distant 122nd worldwide in Fixed Broadband Penetration per 100 residents.

Shamefully, third world countries like Tonga and Kyrgyzstan are ahead of us. India also ranks a far-off 106th in the Mobile Broadband Penetration across the world per 100 residents.

Thankfully, in the percentage of households with Internet for developing countries, India ranks better at 75.

But again, in Percentage of Individuals using the Internet across the world, India is at 145 and among developing countries is at 98.

The report says that as India is one of the first countries to launch LTE (4G telephony), it will accelerate service delivery in sectors ranging from health to public infrastructure, and thus drive a significant structural shift in consumer behaviour over the next few years, especially given that nearly 200 operators in 75 countries may offer LTE services by the end of 2013.

Hopefully, the scenario improves in next couple of years!

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