While India may not have the fastest Internet speeds in the world, the number of broadband subscribers has been increasing at a steady clip. So despite the pathetic Internet speeds in many parts of the country, India has the third most Internet subscribers in the world.
According to TRAI, the total broadband subscriber base in India has increased from 15.09 million at the end of April 2013 to 15.13 million at the end of May 2013. That’s a monthly growth of 0.23 percent, but in comparison to the same period in 2012, this represents an annual growth of 5.75 percent. It must be noted that according to the government, broadband speed is 256 Kbps and above. So in essence, only 15.13 million Indians have a 256 Kbps or higher connection. The figures for the period ending May 2013 were released earlier this month by TRAI.
While the government is supposed to amend its benchmark for broadband speeds to 2 Mbps in the next couple of years, it is hoped that in the meanwhile, the national broadband plan is in the advanced stage of deployment. However, at present, the numbers do not make a good reading for a country, which Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said could miss out on the Internet revolution.
Besides the increase in number of broadband subscribers, TRAI also said the number of telecom subscribers in India shot up to 900 million in May 2013. The wireless subscriber base increased from 867.2 million to 870.2 million. In urban areas, wireless subscriber base increased to 522.01 million, while the rural base rose to 348.19 million.
The latest report also says there are 161 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country providing broadband services. The top 5 in terms of market share are public telecom provider BSNL (9.96 million), Bharti Airtel (1.40 million), state-backed MTNL (1.09 million), Hathway (0.36 million) and You Broadband (0.31 million).
Airtel, with 21.79 percent share of the market, remained the largest mobile service provider, trailed by Vodafone with nearly 18 percent of the market and Reliance with a share of 14.35 percent.