'India's broadband penetration extremely low'

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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BANGALORE: Even as India increasingly shines with its prowess in the information technology sector, adoption of broadband in the country remains pathetic. According to a report by Forrester, urban India has only a 3 percent adoption rate among its top three socio-economic classes. This is against a penetration of 62 percent in South Korea, followed by Hong Kong at 57 percent.

The report giving a perspective of broadband penetration and says that between now and 2015, consumer spending power in emerging economies like China and India will more than double from $4 trillion to $9 trillion, nearly equivalent to the present spending power of Western Europe. This increased purchasing power will be fuelled by a billion consumers reaching middle class status in these countries who will increasingly depend on broadband for e-commerce and entertainment.

The research highlights that the Asian, North American and Northern European regions have the highest adoption rate. After South Korea and Hong Kong come the Netherlands, Canada and Japan with penetration rates of around 50 percent. Rounding out the top tier are Sweden and metropolitan China, with penetration rates of 43 percent and 41 percent, respectively.

“India’s broadband penetration is very low. Despite efforts to roll out the infrastructure, urban India has only a 3 percent adoption rate among its top three socio-economic classes (SEC),” the report highlighted.

Dwelling on how the poor penetration can be improved, Forrester has said that urban Indian consumers will seek out the web as soon as they have the right hardware. “As broadband infrastructure is slowly rolled out in urban India, more consumers in the top SECs will seek out devices with a balance between price and quality.

It added that, limited-functionality offerings such as Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 computer would likely cater mainly to consumers in the lower income rural areas.

“Once urban Indian consumers own the hardware, the connectivity will soon follow. To take advantage of this slow yet steadily growing online population, Microsoft should step in and aggressively advertise Windows Live to a market that hasn’t yet been conquered by Google,” it noted.

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