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45 million active internet users in India: Survey

According to I-Cube 2008, a survey conducted jointly by IMRB International and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), India had 45.3 million active internet users and 62.5 million claimed internet users in September 2008.

According to I-Cube 2008, a survey conducted jointly by IMRB International and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), India had 45.3 million active internet users and 62.5 million claimed internet users in September 2008. Active internet users are those who have used internet at least once in the last one month, while claimed users also include those who have used internet sometime but not in the last one month.

The survey found that urban users continue to dominate internet use contributing to 42 million of the 45.3 million active internet users. In September 2007, the number of active internet users in urban India was 36 million showing a year on year growth of less than 13 per cent. The number of claimed internet users in urban India in September 2008 was 57 million compared with 48 million in September 2007, recording a less than 10 per cent growth.

Subho Ray, president, IAMAI, has said, “The growth rate was alarming compared with the rest in past years as well as with some other countries notably where the number of internet users are more than 250 million.”

I-Cube which traditionally mapped internet users in urban India has for the first time covered rural India in the survey. Since rural India was mapped for the first time, the year on year growth of internet users in rural India could not be estimated this time.

The survey also interviewed the claimed but not yet active users on the lack of internet user and found there are five main barriers to internet use in urban India. The main reason for lack of internet use was found to be lack of awareness of the use of the medium, as 47 per cent of the respondents said they don’t know how internet could be useful.

Other reasons for the lack of internet use included high charge of accessing internet at cyber cafes (11.7 per cent), lack of good cyber cafes in the neighbourhood (8.9 per cent) and high cost of accessing internet through dial-up at home (5.5 per cent). About 5.2 per cent of the respondents said they needed guidance to access internet regularly.

Mohan Krishnan, senior vice president, BIRD, a specialized unit of IMRB International, has said, “Continuing niche growth of the internet is forcing two major realisations that need to be acted upon. Firstly, with majority of urban literates challenged due to the barrier of English language, there needs to be a strong push in vernacular and local language provision over the internet.”

“In these markets, in addition to localised content, online applications that matter individuals in their daily lives are needed. At the same time, untouched vast rural markets need to be tapped. However, enabling content for such markets highly depends on infrastructure available in accessing the internet,” Mohan Krishnan has added.

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