According to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) along with IMRB International, the two organizations forecast that Internet users in India are expected to reach 302 million by the end of the year. The forecast is a 32 percent increase from the 213 million Indian Internet users at the end of 2013.
Currently, the ranking puts China in the first place with 600 million Internet users, with the United States at 279 million Internet users and India following closely behind and battling for second place.
Reported by The Hindu news source, upon release of the report the IAMAI and IMRB released a statement.
“The Internet in India took more than a decade to move from 10 million to 100 million and 3 years from 100 million to 200 million. However, it took only a year to move from 200 to 300 million users. Clearly, Internet is mainstream in India today.”
Further projections in the IAMAI-IMRB report forecasted India to reach 354 million internet users by June 2015, a critical progression necessary for bitcoin and other digital currencies to become a viable means of payment in the country.
By June, the report projects that 216 million users come from an urban area while 138 million come from a rural environment. Currently, urban internet users are up 29 percent from last year.
While the numbers look exciting at first, one needs to take into account a few issues on the horizon when evaluating the report. 138 million internet users come from a rural environment, a place where nearly 70 percent of the population still lives. When breaking down the numbers, only around a third of India’s Internet users come from the majority of the population.
According to Kiran Karnik, the former head of India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies, there are a few challenges India faces in terms of Internet growth. The International Business Times quoted Karnik speaking at a conference in New Delhi outlining the following:
“Demand is a question — it is really a matter of how you price it and what people are willing to pay for. In the rural context, these services could be skills, innovation. Last mile connectivity is going to be a challenge. That is where one is looking for innovation.”
Despite the issues, Mozilla decided to unveil their low-cost Firefox phones in India earlier this year, pushing accessibility to bitcoin, and other digital currency, usage even further. At the affordable price of $33, the Intex Cloud FX could do more for general internet access and bitcoin adoption in India’s developing market.
“The biggest barrier for feature phone users is cost and usability,” Jane Hsu, director of product marketing, said upon the announcement referring to upgrading users of devices with limited Internet capability. “We think this is the best phone for them.”
Also read: Mozilla Foundation Now Accepting Bitcoin Donations
India’s internet future is still unknown, but projections don’t lie. India may very well overtake the United States in December as the second-largest internet market, but they desperately need to tap into the rural area in order to continue growth and development against China.
What do you think of the future of the Internet in India and China? Comment below!
Images from Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay and Shutterstock.