India saw a big surge in the number of Internet users ever since mobile data plans became much cheaper a few years ago. People who earlier had no access to the web, now had it at the tip of their fingers and things have only gone up since then. Now, for the first time ever, India has more internet users in rural areas compared to those in urban areas.

A recent report by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Nielsen showed that about 227 million people actively used the internet in rural regions of India. This is 10 percent more than the 205 million active users in India’s urban parts.

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A large part is played here by what is likely the cheapest cost for internet connections in the world, suggests a report by Times of India. Further, India has about 71 million kids who are aged between 5 and 11 who still do not have their own devices to access the web. This part of the population often uses the smartphones or computers of their parents and other family members.

The new statistics also show that India has now surpassed 500 million active internet users aged 5 and above. Back in March 2019, this number was at 451 million users, compared to the 503 million now. For some context, active users are those who use internet services at least once a month. India is now the second-largest country in terms of internet users, just behind China which has about 850 million active users. The USA has about 280 – 300 million users.

The report by the IAMAI and Nielsen also suggested a surge in the number of female internet users. This number stood high at 21 percent growth, compared to the 9 percent growth of new male users. There is still a lot more potential to add new users in the next few years. The top eight metro cities in India saw an internet penetration of 65 percent back in November 2019, 2 percent higher than the 63 percent in March of the same year.

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