Isn’t it shocking that India, Asia’s third-largest economy, has less than five per cent internet penetration? India in its current role as the flag bearer of the off-shoring business, cannot afford this at all. A recent research indicates that although India is one of the fastest-growing mobile telephone markets in the world, it is in danger of being left behind by other emerging markets, unless it takes urgent steps to enhance its access to the internet.
The Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations said that India’s “very low” penetration of internet would be a drag on the country’s global competitiveness. The country would stand no chance against the likes of China, Korea and Indonesia. In fact, according to media reports in 2007, the government had proposed “free high-speed broadband internet connections” by 2009, which was never put to practice.
The plan was to be implemented via state-owned operators BSNL and MTNL. The intention was to boost overall economic activity in the industry. We wonder where the plan stands today. While urban India is on the verge of embracing 3G, states such as Bihar and Assam have virtually no internet access.
The Indian mobile market stands at 350 million now with around 10 million new users added every month. Imagine the possibilities and information access when even a fraction of these devices can use 3G. If India is to remain at par with the world in terms of mobile connectivity, we wonder how these delays in implementing new technology will fare in the long run.