Entertainment is the primary driver of Internet use in rural India as 75 per cent of rural users use Internet for entertainment.

While 56 per cent use it for communication, users like to access music, videos and photos for entertainment, a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) said on Thursday.

According to the latest I-Cube report on ‘Internet in Rural India’ by IAMAI and IMRB, rural India has 38 million claimed Internet users and 31 million active Internet users.

The number of claimed Internet users in rural India is expected to reach 45 million by December, it said.

Claimed, active users

The penetration of claimed Internet users in rural India has grown by a compounded annual growth rate of 73 per cent from 2.6 per cent in 2010 to 4.6 per cent in 2012.

Penetration of active Internet users has grown from 2.13 per cent in 2010 to 3.7 per cent in 2012.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the next two years, a combination of affordable smartphones, optical fibre backbone and local language content is likely to beat the projections of Internet growth in rural areas,” Subho Ray, President of IAMAI, said.

Mobile Internet users

The report further said that mobile phones are fast emerging as an important point of Internet access in rural India. As of June 2012, there were 3.6 million mobile Internet users in India, a growth of 7.2 times from 0.5 million in 2010.

Community service centres and cyber cafés are the major point of access for Internet users in rural India. There is a growing interest among the rural constituents seeking information on education also, the report added.

ronendrasingh.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 30, 2012)
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