Economy

Economic Survey: Rapid penetration of Internet/ broadband in both urban, rural areas

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 29, 2021

As on January 15, around 4.87 lakh km of optical fibre cable has been laid to cover 1.63 lakh Gram Panchayats   -  Businessline

Average wireless data consumption per subscriber per month has also increased from 9.1 GB in March-2019

 

The Internet and broadband penetration both in urban and rural areas has grown at a rapid pace and the number of subscribers (both broadband and narrowband put together) stood at 776.45 million at the end of September 2020 as compared to 636.73 million in March 2019.

The wireless data usage grew at exponential rate during the calender year 2019 and was at 76.47 Exa bytes (one billion GB). During January-September 2020, it had already reached 75.21 Exa bytes, the Economic Survey said on Friday.

Click here to read the full survey

“The telecom sector plays an important role in implementation of JAM-trinity (Jandhan Aadhar Mobile) based social sector schemes and other pro-development initiatives of the government. The sector has been recognised all over the world as a powerful tool for development and poverty reduction,” it said.

Digital drive

Efforts are being made to address the digital divide by extending inclusive Internet access to every Indian citizen, it said, adding that as on January 15, around 4.87 lakh kms of optical fibre cable has been laid to cover 1.63 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) and nearly 1.51 lakh GPs have become service-ready.

Average wireless data consumption per subscriber per month has also increased from 9.1 GB in March-2019 to 12.2 GB in June-2020, it said.

“The reduced cost of data could enable affordable internet access at a rapid pace. As on June 2020, the cost of wireless data stood at ₹10.55 per GB. The government has taken various initiatives including BharatNet for achieving the goal of Digital India programme,” the Survey said.

Under the project, network infrastructure is being established for broadband highways, accessible on a non-discriminatory basis to provide affordable broadband services to citizens and institutions in rural areas, in partnership with States and the private sector, it said.

The wireless telephony constitutes 98.3 per cent of all subscriptions whereas the share of landline telephones now stands at only 1.7 per cent. The overall tele-density in India stands at 86.6 per cent at the end of November 2020, whereas tele-density in rural and urban areas are 59.1 per cent and 139 per cent respectively, the Survey added.

Published on January 29, 2021

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