Internet usage in rural India has far outstripped that of urban India, riding on smartphones and cheap internet connections. Data from the Internet and Mobile Association of India shows the rural areas is 10 per cent more users than the urban areas.
While the urban areas have 20.5 crore users, the rural areas have 22.7 crore, a survey by the organization showed.
The survey also indicated that the change has been brought about by the penetration of smartphones and high-speed data.In January this year, India's smartphone market surpassed the US for the first time, becoming the second-largest smartphone market after China.
India currently has 50.4 crore internet users, a figure second only to China. China currently has the world's highest number of internet users – 850 million.
Tweeting the data under the hashtag #DigitalIdia, the BJP said this has helped bridge the rural-urban divide.
"For the first time, India has more internet users in rural areas than in urban. By Nov 2019, rural India had 22.7 crore internet users & urban India had 20.5 crore users. Uniform internet penetration has successfully bridged the urban-rural divide significantly. #DigitalIndia," its tweet read.
For the first time, India has more internet users in rural areas than in urban. By Nov 2019, rural India had 22.7 crore internet users & urban India had 20.5 crore users.— BJP (@BJP4India) May 6, 2020
Uniform internet penetration has successfully bridged the urban-rural divide significantly. #DigitalIndiapic.twitter.com/17b1eEC0Bs
In 2017, a report released at the 'India Mobile Congress' in New Delhi said while the overall Internet penetration in India is 33 per cent, it is only 16 per cent in the rural areas. Early last year, the Internet and mobile Association of India had said that urban India with 192 million users was neck and neck with rural India.
Achieving a "Digital India" has been one of Prime Minister NArendra Modi's key goals. In 2015, at the launch of the "Digital India Week", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said people will soon "settle down only at places with an optical fibre network".
"I dream of a digital India where high-speed digital highways unite the nation, where 1.2 billion connected Indians drive innovation," he said.