Take away India’s mobile miracle and you soon realize how much the country lags in terms of PC penetration and broadband adoption. According to recently released data from the Indian government, the total broadband subscriber base rose to 6.8 million in July from 6.62 million in June — up a whopping 2.7 percent. (The Indian government defines broadband as Internet connectivity of speeds at or higher than 256 kbps.)
That’s pathetic, as there are five major telecommunication companies in India: Bharti, Reliance, Tata and state-owned BSNL & MTNL. There’s no reason why there aren’t more broadband users in India — in particular, those big phone companies should be aggressively subsidizing the newer, more powerful sub-$500 netbooks that come with 10-inch screens.
While it could help boost Nokia’s revenues, more importantly, it could jumpstart the Indian Internet ecosystem, which is already vibrant even despite such low broadband and PC penetration. Take a look at this presentation from Trendspotting about the state of India online to see just how engaged the region’s Internet users are. There are about 54 million active Internet users in India, according to the report, who love to search on Google, watch a lot of video on YouTube and are completely smitten with Facebook (the number of Indian users has risen 156 percent in the past 12 months alone). And when it comes to Twitter users, the country figures among the Top 10 in the world.