Internet user numbers in India to increase to 829 million in 2021: report

Digital transformation will take India's internet users from 373 million (28 per cent of India's population) in 2016 to 829 million (59 per cent of population) in 2021, global networking giant Cisco said yesterday.

Cisco's "Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast", predicts there will be two billion networked devices in 2021 in India, up from 1.4 billion in 2016.

"Mobile networks, devices and connections in India are not only getting smarter in their computing capabilities but are also evolving from lower-generation network connectivity (2G) to higher-generation network connectivity (3G, 3.5G, and 4G or LTE)," Sanjay Kaul, managing director, service provider business, Cisco India and Saarc, said in a statement.

"Combining device capabilities with faster, higher bandwidth and more intelligent networks is leading to wide adoption of high bandwidth data, video and advanced multimedia applications that contribute to increased mobile and Wi-Fi traffic," Kaul added.

The overall IP traffic was expected to grow four-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30 per cent and hit 6.5 Exabytes of data per month in 2021, up from 1.7 Exabytes per month in 2016, Cisco said in its forecast.

The report said machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will represent 22 per cent of the total two billion devices and connections and make up 5 per cent of IP traffic by 2021.

"The need for optimised bandwidth management, network automation, end-to-end security and ultimately network monetisation through cost efficient data production is fuelling the growth of network automation, mass market 4G deployments and adoption, soon to be followed with 4.5G and 5G," Kaul added.

The growth was being driven by advancements in IoT applications such as smart meters, package tracking, digital health monitors and a host of other next-generation M2M services.

Video will continue to dominate IP traffic and overall internet traffic growth-representing 76 per cent of all internet traffic in 2021, up from 57 per cent in 2016, the report added.