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India’s Internet population likely to almost double to 600 million by 2020: study

By   /  December 6, 2016  /  Comments Off on India’s Internet population likely to almost double to 600 million by 2020: study

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 Mumbai:  With increased 4G and 3G penetration, the Internet user base in India is rapidly expanding and has reached a penetration of over 27% versus 50.3% penetration in China and expected to double to 600 million users by 2020 from 343 million users currently, according to an ASSOCHAM- Deloitte joint study.

India internet user is expected to almost double to 600 million users by 2020 from approximately 343 million users currently. Going forward, rural adoption of data-enabled devices is expected to increase with the BharatNet initiative under Digital India, reveals ASSOCHAM-Deloitte joint study.

India is the second largest mobile phone market globally with over 1 billion mobile subscriptions. Of this, smartphone users account for approximately 240 million subscriptions which is expected to grow to 520 million by 2020, adds the study.

Spectrum availability in Indian metros is about a tenth of the same in cities in developed countries. This has put a major roadblock in providing high speed data services. Public Wi-Fi penetration remains low. Globally, there is one Wi-Fi hotspot for every 150 citizens. For India to reach that level of penetration, over 8 million hotspots are required of which only about 31,000 hotspots are currently available, reveals the study.

Currently, over 55,000 villages remain deprived of mobile connectivity. This is largely due to the fact that providing mobile connectivity in such locations is not commercially viable for service providers, adds the study.

The ASSOCHAM- Deloitte study report mentioned that challenges in policy, such as taxation, right of way, restrictive regulations etc. are major roadblocks in realizing the vision of Digital India. Some of the common policy hurdles include the following lack of clarity in FDI policies, for instance, have impacted the growth of e-commerce.

Implementation of the Digital India program has been hampered by contracting challenges such as the projects assigned to PSUs are delayed given challenges related to skills, experience and technical capabilities.

With the proliferation of cloud-based services like DigiLocker, data security has emerged as a major challenge. The recent data breach in August 2016, in which debit card data for more than 3.2 million subscribers was stolen highlights the importance of implementing foolproof security systems.

For the success of the Digital India program, capacity building is crucial. In addition to infrastructure development, Digital Literacy, skill building and higher adoption of digital solutions is key to program success, said the study.

The report said that despite rising smartphone penetration and internet user base, digital literacy in India has been low. In order for the benefits of the Digital India programme to reach all sections of the population, improving digital literacy is imperative. A strong skill base is required to support the initiatives and services that are envisaged under the Digital India umbrella.

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