According to the latest Internet in India (I Cube) Report 2007, published jointly by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International, the number of Internet users in India in the ever user or claimed user category has touched 46 million in September 2007, from 32.2 million in September 2006. During the same period, the number of active Internet users has reached 32 million.
Commenting on this growth of Internet users, Dr Subho Ray, President, IAMAI, noted, “Although a growth of 40 per cent year-on-year makes us happy, especially since for the last couple of years the rate of growth was between 30-35 per cent – relative to what can be achieved and what needs to be achieved – the growth rate is not very satisfactory.”
“Broadband, which would drive more applications, functions and businesses and therefore more users, now really needs to take off in India in order to make the growth sustainable. If broadband targets are not met in the coming years, there is a possibility of missing out on creating a virtuous cycle of better connectivity, better content and more users,” Ray elaborated.
Mohan Krishnan, Senior VP of IMRB, and Country Manager of BIRD, was of the opinion that the demand for Internet still continued to be primarily from the urban areas. “Therefore, while the government was justifiably drawing up plans to reach internet to the rural areas, it was also necessary that the urban digital divide should also be bridged with appropriate policy measures,” he said.
According to the report, the growth of Internet users is primarily driven by the fact that the numbers of people who know how to use a computer unaided have grown to 65 million up from 15.8 million in 2000; 70 per cent of the PC literates have used the Internet some time or the other in their lives.
The cities covered by the survey included Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Patna, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Coimbatore, Guwahati, Surat, Nagpur, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Durg, Vishakhapatnam, Trichy, Bellary, Panipat, Trisshur and Jalgaon, covering 65,000 households.