Only 5 percent of rural India access broadband

The broadband growth in India has been slow. It is biased in favour of urban areas. More than 60 percent broadband subscribers are in the
top ten metros and tier I cities and more than 75 percent connections are in
top 30 cities, according to TRAI.

Just 5 percent of the broadband connections are in rural
areas, which is meager compared to about 31 percent of total mobile telephone
connections in rural areas.


Penetration of Internet and broadband is low in the country, due to a limited
spread of wire line telephones and non availability, so far, of broadband
technologies. Number of broadband subscribers at the end of March 2005 was 0.18
million and it increased to 12.12 million at the end of May 2011.


With the launch of 3G services, the stage is set for
rapid spread of broadband. At the same time, there is an urgent need for a
nationwide broadband network to reach education, healthcare, banking and other
services to all the in realizing the objective of inclusive growth.

There are 105 service providers who are currently
providing broadband services. However, top ten service providers have captured
more than 95 percent of market and top 5 Service Providers have about 90
percent share. BSNL and MTNL together have about 70 percent market share. This
indicates that despite of having license for provisioning of broadband
services, majority of service providers are unable to penetrate into the market
and market is still dominated by few players only.


Although broadband penetration is low in India, the entry
level tariff for broadband services has come down drastically. Some service
providers even provide unlimited download packages and various options for data
transfer. Some of the Service Providers are already offering broadband services
having zero rental schemes.


The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is
planning to engage agencies to conduct survey to assess the status of broadband
in India.

The existing data collection mechanism relating to
Broadband services captures only very limited information. TRAI receives data
from the Service Providers regarding internet and broadband connections on
quarterly basis.

However, the data being presently collected indicates
only the number of connections without capturing important parameters such as
number of users, usage pattern and distribution of broadband, usage based on
topography, age and socioeconomic profile and of the users.

This is a significant development as TRAI will be able to
understand about adoption of broadband services and barriers to its adoption.

According to TRAI, it is important for knowing about the
strengths and weaknesses of this segment of the telecom sector. It will help in
assessing the pattern of growth in broadband segment of the telecom sector and
the influence of different elements on such growth.

It is felt that collection of systematic data on a time
series basis on adoption, penetration and usage pattern of broadband services
including the barriers in adoption of broadband services by the subscribers in the country, etc., is important to understand
the pattern of adoption and the barriers in adoption of broadband.

The present number of broadband subscribers only
indicates the individual connections without throwing any light on the actual
number of users accessing the broadband services and usage pattern of broadband
services as well as hindrances and barriers to adoption and usage of broadband.

By Team
[email protected]