A report released by the IAMAI suggests that the use of Internet in rural India is set to rise by 98 per cent to touch 24 million in December 2011. The same report also showed that between June 2010 and December 2010, the number of claimed users had already grown by 40 per cent, and that the active users hover at around 80 per cent of the audience.
The research by the IAMAI and the IMRB found three reasons for this growth. There is a growing awareness of the internet in rural areas today, and access has also become far easier than before, with entertainment driving the adoption of internet in rural areas.
Entertainment, communication and instant messaging are the main purposes for access. 41 per cent of the claimed Internet users had used the Internet for watching, downloading and listening to music or uploading or downloading pictures, while 32 per cent also used the Internet for email, chat and communication.
At the same time, Common Service Centers (CSCs) are still by far the most widely used Internet access points. About 65 per cent of all Internet access in rural India happens at a CSC or any publicly accessible computer. As per the findings, education related surfing (49 per cent), general Internet surfing (46 per cent), gaming purposes (28 per cent) and biodata and CV services (25 per cent) were the main reasons for people to access CSCs.
Access is not the biggest issue at hand though, but awareness; and initiatives like the National e-Governance Plan and ITC’s e-Choupal project and HUL’s Project Shakti have made huge headway in increasing internet adoption among rural people.