government's goal of achieving 20 million broadband users by 2010 may be a little ambitious. US-based online research agency eMarketer has released the 'India Online Overview', which says broadband Internet households in India are expected to be 10.5 million by 2011, or 5.1 per cent of the total households - just half the targeted number. According to TRAI, the total broadband connections in the country were 2.47 million at the end of July 2007.
With just 2.3 per cent of Indian citizens online in 2006 and 2.9 per cent being the projection for 2007, India's Internet penetration is the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region, as per the report. In comparison, China's Internet population was 10.2 per cent in 2006 and South Korea's was 70.5 per cent.
It also predicts that the online population in India will reach 33.2 million in 2007 and 71.6 million by 2011. The report says that the number of home Internet users in India grew 19 per cent between April 2006 and April 2007, and three out of four urban Indians now have broadband. "But for India to reach its online potential, the government needs to liberate the telecommunications sector, though wireless access technologies may also provide momentum," warns the report. Is the government listening?