I-Cube Report: Mobile crucial for rural India to access Net

31 Aug,2012

By A Correspondent


There are about 38 million claimed internet users in rural India today. The penetration of claimed internet users in rural India has grown from 2.6 per cent in 2010 to 4.6 per cent in 2012, a CAGR of 73 per cent. On the other hand the penetration of active internet users has grown from 2.13 percent in 2010 to 3.7 percent in 2012. These are some of the findings from the latest I-Cube Report on ‘Internet in Rural India’ which was released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB.


According to the report, the number of claimed internet users in rural India is expected to reach 45 million by December 2012. The report further states that mobile phones are fast emerging as an important point of internet access in rural India. As of June 2012, there were 3.6 Mn Mobile Internet Users in India, a growth of 7.2 times from 0.5 million in 2010.


In a prepared statement, Dr Subho Ray, President of IAMAI stated, “This is just the tip of the iceberg, in the next two years, a combination of affordable smart phones, optic fibre backbone and local language content is likely to change the beat all projections of internet growth in rural areas.”


Anurag Gupta, Founder and MD, DGM India explained the possible impact of a growing rural internet usage on digital advertising. He was also of the view that local language contents, hyper local information etc will lead to higher internet usage in rural India. “Internet penetration is growing in the urban areas and now it is percolating to the rural areas, this is very good news as it bridges the digital divide across the country and empowers dual India with a level playing field of knowledge and information. There will be a growth in digital spends as the users grow, so for the digital advertising industry this is a very heartening sign.”


Usage of Indian language or local language content is also said to be on the rise. According to the report, the availability of content in local language encourages the rural user to go online and although 79 per cent of the users access content in English, 32 per cent of the users access content in Hindi.


A whopping 42 per cent of the respondents said they were not aware of internet. This is also one of the reasons for the non-usage of the internet. As more and more people begin to use the internet, infrastructure facilities is also bound to grow. While more initiatives are certainly needed to build the internet infrastructure, evangalising of the medium to the rural masses is equally the need of the hour for further growth of the medium. In addition to this, local language content is also said to play a critical role in order to fuel the growth of internet usage in India.


Point of Access:

One of the reasons for the increase in rural internet usage is probably because of the availability of cyber cafes and community service centres. Interestingly, majority of internet users in rural India (i.e. 57 per cent) have access to internet via cyber cafes and community service centres, only 19 per cent are said to have internet access at home and 12 per cent of the internet users access internet through their mobile phones.



Purpose of Internet Access:

Entertainment is the primary driver of internet use in rural India. 75 percent of rural users use internet for entertainment while 56 percent use it for communications Users like to access Music, Videos and Photos for entertainment.



There is a growing interest amongst the rural constituents seeking information on education. 81 percent of claimed internet users seek information pertaining to school / university and exam centres.



Primary research is said to have been conducted in line with ‘I-Cube’ reports, an annual syndication of eTechnology Group, IMRB International. The syndicated research is based upon a primary research survey that interviewed about 15000 people from various age groups, across SECs and genders from the states of Assam, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.


The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is an association which is said to be representing the entire gamut of digital businesses in India. It was established in 2004 by the leading online publishers. IAMAI is also said to be the only professional industry body representing the online and mobile VAS industry in India.


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