It is a well-known fact that the Internet is being used for various applications these days. Not only in urban areas is the Internet penetration increasing, but also in rural India these days. According to the National Readership Survey (NRS) 2006, India’s population stands at about 818 million. Among them, 568 million people reside in rural India spreading over 6 lakh villages across various parts of the country. Nearly 70% of the population is in rural areas in India.
India is the 4th largest country in terms of Internet users. In India total 8.1 crores of people are using Internet. The survey conducted by the IMRB International (Indian Market Research Bureau) with ICube in 2010 reveals that the Internet usage among rural India had grown by 40% between June 2010 and December 2010. Rural India had about 7.45 million claimed Internet users (who have ever used Internet) and 5.5 Mn active Internet users (who have used Internet in the last one month) by December 2009. It is estimated that the active claimed rural Internet users’ number will reach 30 million and the number of rural active Internet users are expected to touch 24 million by the December 2011.
Three reasons for Internet usage growth in rural India
The research by the Internet Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB found three reasons for the growth of Internet usage in rural areas in India.
- Growing awareness of the Internet in rural areas in India
- Internet access has become more easier than before
- Usage for entertainment
Most of the people access the Internet with the purposes of entertainment, communication and instant messaging. The IAMAI and IMRB study found that 41% of the rural Internet users had used the Internet for watching, downloading, and listening to music, or downloading or uploading wallpapers or pictures. About 32% of them used it for email, chatting and communication.