Internet user base increases by 54% to touch 38.5 mn in 05: IAMAI

MUMBAI: The Internet user base has registered a growth of 54 per cent with 38.5 million users as of 2005-06 from just 25 million in 2004-05. The findings of a survey done by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) showed that more people are becoming net savvy and are harnessing the power of the Internet.

Currently, the total ecommerce market in India is estimated at Rs 11.80 billion (2005-2006) and by 2006-2007 online commerce is estimated to grow to Rs 23 billion, an over 100 per cent increase.



Commenting on the growth, Union Minister for IT and Telecommunications Dayanidhi Maran said, "We have ambitious goals regarding internet access and are providing all support to attain them. The government is making concerted efforts with a clear emphasis on the importance of affordable broadband for the advancement of society and for the benefit of Indians, especially in rural and remote areas, which has encouraged more users to experience the powerful role of the Internet We are continuously evaluating policies, which will help increase competition and bring down prices as well as increase access speeds. Our aim is to achieve critical mass across the country with a special impetus in the rural and remote areas and envision an 'India' where every Indian can take advantage of this technology."



IAMAI president Preeti Desai said, "Proactive government support and recurring online activities has driven more and more Indians to reach out to the Internet regularly. Indian consumers increasing net usage explains the whopping 54 per cent growth in online population and can be attributed to growing dependence on online communication, online content and ecommerce. Email (98 per cent) and chat have become a ubiquitous part of online Indians daily routine; services like online banking (32 per cent), bill payment (18 per cent), stock trading (15 per cent), job search (51 per cent), matrimonial search (15 per cent) each delivering their own USP has seen tremendous rise in usage; online Indians are regularly reaching out to research online content for work (62 per cent) and personal (70 per cent) use and a sizeable contribution is due to the fast growing e-commerce in India. The latent demand with double digit growth of online shopping for services such as airline ticketing, railway ticketing and product categories like electronic gadgets and home appliances amongst other product categories have also acted as catalysts for this 54 per cent growth."


The diffusion of the Internet and its associated applications like e-governance, e-commerce, e-banking and e-learning, will play a crucial role in fueling the growth of the nation's economy. Internet significantly facilitates the process of development of nations and its citizens in all respects, be it economic, social, or cultural.

The impact of the broadband policy is evident from these growth figures. The policy has helped focus in on ushering Internet penetration right across the country with broadband prices as low as Rs 199 per month.

The study further stated that this Internet growth can also be attributed to the IT and Telecom Ministry's focused pursuit of introducing Rs 10,000 PCs, in association with hardware manufacturers, thereby enabling the common man to overcome the first hurdle of accessing the Internet

To overcome the hurdle of content in regional languages the IT and Telecom Ministry has already kicked off several initiatives towards development of language fonts, thereby removing language barriers and localising the content.

Reduction in license fees and revenue sharing agreement from 15 per cent to 6 per cent has enabled players like GailTel and RailTel and PowerGrid to come together to address the broadband growing demand, and their efforts will make Internet a household feature.

Add to this the growing '.in' registrations, where 150,000 registrations have been received till date, reinforces the fact Indian expertise in hosting root servers are being well accepted, not only by Indian organisations, but also by the Root Server Operators of US and Europe, who have hosted Three Root servers, F, K and I, in India.

India is already witnessing a huge jump in VoIP traffic. This has been possible due to the liberalisation of Telecom license fees and the legalising of VoIP within networks. Going forward, VoIP will play a crucial role in increasing Internet user base and as competition grows, the VoIP will witness further lowering of rates, enabling more consumers to use the Internet for their benefit, the study added.

Manufacturers Association of Information Technology (MAIT) executive director Vinnie Mehta said, "A wholesome strategy by the IT Industry and the government to improve IT penetration through aggressive PC pricing, higher bandwidth connectivity and making available IT applications and tools in local languages has already started to yield rich dividends. We are witnessing a steady growth in the PC consumption where sales have crossed a million mark in each of the last two quarters. The households have emerged as a significant buyer-segment where accessing Internet is one of the prime reasons for buying a PC."

ISPAI president Sanjay Dwivedi added, "Whilst independent ISP's are quite excited with these monthly growth figures, nevertheless with a more aggressively supportive Policy and Regulatory regime, utilising NIXI as a pivotal peering and security monitoring infrastructure, we could easily have 60,000 SME's becoming ISP's to ensure that India's Broadband, e-governance and knowledge power visions are easily met by 2020. ISPAI has and is committed to work closely with the industry and government bodies to promote broadband and Internet for all, supported with world class end user experience at affordable prices."

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