A report by Chinese telecom equipment maker's Indian arm, Huawei India, and Ernst & Young (EY) says some 700 million people in the world were without access to broadband services due to cost barriers, lack of awareness and relevant content in the local context especially for rural areas.
According to the report, Connected Possibilities: Innovation, Integration and Inclusiveness, in comparison to other BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Indonesia), India had the lowest internet and PC penetration.
A Sethuraman, executive director, Huawei India, told reporters that more than 60 per cent of current broadband subscribers resided in the top 10 metros and tier 1 cities and over 75 per cent connections belonged to top 30 cities. He added, only 5 per cent of the broadband connections were in rural areas as against 31 per cent of total mobile telephones.
He said, internet users in India on an average spent only 0.5 hr online each day, which was lowest rate amongst all the BRIC countries owing to affordability and accessibility bottlenecks.
The report not only highlights the telecom sector's contribution towards GDP, but also how the sector catalysed development in other sectors to generate an economic surplus. According to the evaluation, every 10 per cent increase in mobile penetration rate was expected to increase the GDP of the country by 1.2 per cent.
The Huwei-EY report also highlighted an addition of net revenue of $31 billion (37 per cent growth) and $27.5 billion (42 per cent growth) in education and healthcare industries respectively and was optimistic that mobile-commerce would be next revolution in the telecommunication and banking industry providing the consumer with an opportunity to transact anytime and anywhere. It also elicited the role of e-governance in strengthening government processes and their evaluation.