As per the figures on the latest I-Cube Report on Internet in Rural India by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB, rural India is home to 38 million Internet users and 31 million active Internet users. The report further adds that the penetration of claimed Internet users in rural India grew from being 2.6 percent in 2010 to 4.6 percent in 2012, a CAGR of 73 percent. While the stats of active Internet users has grown from 2.13 percent in 2010 to 3.7 percent in 2012. Interestingly, the report expects the number of  claimed Internet users in rural India to reach 45 million by December 2012.

Beginning of good times? (Image credit: Getty Images)

Penetrating to rural India (Image credit: Getty Images)

Dr. Subho Ray, President of IAMAI, commented on the report by adding, “This is just the tip of the iceberg, in the next two years, a combination of affordable smart phones, optic fibre backbone and local language content is likely to change the beat all projections of internet growth in rural areas.”

Among other things, the report also found mobile phones to be fast emerging as a crucial point of Internet access in rural India. Going further, it added that as of June 2012, there were 3.6 million mobile Internet users in India, thereby posting a growth of 7.2 times from 0.5 million in 2010. It found Community Service Centres (CSC) and cyber cafes to be the  major point of access for Internet users in rural India. 

Further, entertainment emerged as the primary driver of Internet use in rural India. It found that 75 percent of rural users use internet for entertainment while 56 percent use it for communications. Users were found to access music, videos and photos for entertainment. Going further, it found, “There is a growing interest amongst the rural constituents seeking information on education. 81 percent of claimed internet users seek information pertaining to school / university and exam centres.”

As per a recently concluded Google India survey called Students on the Web, India comes second only to the U.S. now, as far as education-related search queries on Google go. The study found that more than 60 percent of the Indian students who had access to the Internet used it as their primary source for research information pertaining to educational courses and institutes. That India is a nation with a buzzing youth population is not an unheard fact. What is an even more interesting bit of detail here is that more than half of the nation's population fall within the age bracket of 18-35 years, quite explaining the term 'Young India'. 

Other findings of the study include the fact that queries pertaining to education in the country are increasing at over 46 percent on a yearly basis. Interestingly, it was found that of all search queries, more than 40 percent pertained to course and institutes for pursuing higher education. The study found that IT/Vocational courses was a popular search category in India with 44 percent searches coming through for it, followed by engineering courses for which there were 40 percent of the searches coming, while institutes and postgraduate courses offering MBA had 16 percent of the searches coming. Narrowing further down, the study found that Sikkim Manipal University was the most searched private institute. IIM-A and IIT-Delhi came out on the top, as far as IIMs and IITs were concerned, between the period January to June 2012. 

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