Rural India has 38 million claimed internet users and 31 million active internet users, according to the latest I-Cube Report on ‘Internet in Rural India’ by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB. The report expects the number of claimed internet users in rural India to reach 45 million by December 2012. However, this will only get a push as the government’s ambitious project to give broadband connectivity to 250,000 villages accelerates.
The report points out that mobile phones are fast emerging as an important point of internet access in rural India. As of June 2012, there were 3.6 million Mobile Internet Users in India, a growth of 7.2 times from 0.5 million in 2010.
The penetration of claimed internet users in rural India has grown from 2.6% in 2010 to 4.6% in 2012, a CAGR of 73%. Meanwhile, the penetration of active internet users has grown from 2.13 percent in 2010 to 3.7% in 2012.
Community Service Centres (CSC) and Cyber Cafés are the major point of access for internet users in rural India. 57.7 percent of the internet users accessed internet through this common user points. A significant 12 percent of the internet users access internet on their mobile phones.
The report mentions the significant growing interest of rural India in seeking information on education (Read: Google’s ‘Student on web study’: India ranks #2 for education related queries) – 81% of claimed internet users seek information pertaining to school / university and exam centres.
According to the report, entertainment is the primary driver of internet use in rural India. Almost 75% use internet for entertainment while 56% use it for accessing music, videos and photos.
However, the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), an organization in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation earlier reported that only 3.5 households in 1000 in rural India had internet connectivity at home in 2009-2010 as per the NSSO Level and Pattern of Consumer Expenditure Report, published December 2011. Urban households fare much better, at 59.5 among 1000 connected to the internet [Read: 0.4% Rural and 6% Urban Households have Internet Connectivity].
From our earlier coverage: India remains the country with lowest average Internet connection speed: Report