The penetration of the internet in rural areas will see an all time high this year. In a survey conducted by IMRB for the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the total number of active internet users in rural area will rise by 98 per cent to touch 24 million by the end of this year from 12.1 million in December 2010.
The survey said that the claimed internet user category is also set to grow by 96 per cent to reach 29.9 million by December 2011 from 15.2 million in December 2010.
Active users are those, who have used the internet at least once in the past one month. Claimed internet users are those, who have used the internet sometime but not necessarily in the past one month.
The study found three reasons for this growth. One of the main reasons is the growing awareness about internet. According to the research, about 69 per cent of the rural population is aware of the internet as opposed to 16 per cent projected in last year’s report.
The syndicated research is based upon a primary research survey that interviewed about 15,000 people from various age groups, across SECs and genders from the states of Assam, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Government initiatives facilitated by DIT (Department of Information Technology) such as National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and CSC are increasingly maturing, said the survey. As per latest reports provided by the DIT, there are about 90,000 CSCs operational in various parts of India. With India having about 600,000 villages, each CSC on an average serves about six villages approximately.
Private sector initiatives such as ITC’s e-Choupal, HUL’s Project Shakti, Microsoft’s Project Shiksha and Google’s Internet bus among various others, helped to create awareness and usage. k