In 2 Years, India Slips 42 Ranks in Mobile Broadband Connectivity

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India has slipped on its ranking on the global scale when it comes to the reach of the internet.


Mumbai:  From e-governance, online education to e-healthcare, the Union government has massive plans for its Digital India platform at an estimated cost of Rs 100,000 crore. But this ambitious plan could hit a roadblock given that India has slipped on its ranking on the global scale when it comes to the reach of the internet.

The United Nations' Broadband Penetration report 2015 says India, ranked at 155, has slipped 42 ranks in two years when it comes to mobile broadband connectivity. Even on fixed broadband connections, India has dropped from 125 to 131 in just one year.

But that's not all. With only 15 per cent households with internet connections, even among developing countries, India lags behind Ghana, Sudan and Syria. 18 per cent individuals use the internet, getting India the 90th spot in the list of developing countries, far behind countries like Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Swaziland and Yemen.

"I hope this serves as a wake-up call. We have not only declined, but the absolute levels of our decline are not at all consistent with our view of ourselves as Indians that we are progressing and the only country that's growing when China is declining. This looks like one part of the body is falling behind. So it's like saying I'm a healthy person but my one leg is starting to trail and that will slow you down on of these days," said Ajit Balakrishnan, CEO, Rediff.com.

The plans under Digital India are massive. The Central government aims to connect 250,000 gram panchayats in three years, build a national information infrastructure by March 2017 at a cost of Rs 15,686 crore besides public WiFi hotspots among other plans. But experts feel for the plans to truly take off, the focus will have to be on strengthening India's internet infrastructure.


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