The internet boom has taken over India’s villages, with Maharashtra recording the second highest number of rural internet subscribers in the country, a recent Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) report has revealed.
Till March 2015, Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) had as many as 9.12 million rural internet subscribers, but east Uttar Pradesh topped with over 10 million. The third highest was Andhra Pradesh followed by Bihar. From farmers accessing the internet for weather and agriculture-related information to rural youths tapping the net for education and music — World Wide Web is no longer the urban man’s prerogative.
Maharashtra tops the country for the highest number of internet users. The Trai report said that the top five service areas in terms of total internet subscribers (wired and wireless) are Maharashtra (25.53 million), Tamil Nadu including Chennai (24.14 million), Andhra Pradesh (22.12 million), UP (east) (20.38 million) and Karnataka (20.10 million).
Nilotpal Chakravarti, associate vice president, Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) said that overall, rural internet subscription is quite high. "Even though, internet penetration is high in urban India, the growth of internet subscription is much more in rural areas, where most people use cellphone internet. It is not that people in rural areas are buying more laptops, but just that a lot of people in rural areas have internet on their cellphones," he said.
Chakravarti said that it is quite obvious that farmers in the villages of Maharashtra may not be using the internet to send or access emails or browse news websites but to access weather-related information or e-services offered by the government.