Almost 300 million people worldwide are now accessing the internet using fast broadband connections, according to a report by The Guardian.
More than 1.1 billion of the world's estimated 6.6 billion people are online, and almost a third of those are now accessing the Internet on high-speed lines, the report says.
According to internet consultancy Point Topic, 298 million people had broadband at the end of March and that is already estimated to have shot over 300 million. The statistics, however, paint a picture of a divided digital world.
Former IT and telecommunications minister Dayanidhi Maran had touted 2007 as the year of the broadband for India, but analysts feel the 10 million broadband subscriber-base envisaged by him is not likely any time soon. Plagued by a host of factors including high bandwidth prices, lack of adequate content, lack of competition amongst broadband service providers and last-mile connectivity issues, broadband usage in India has not yet picked up.
The country has a miniscule broadband penetration of about 0.2 per cent according to research group Gartner. Further, India lags behind China when it comes to adding broadband subscribers: India will add 6.2 million additional subscribers by 2011; China is expected to add 46.8 million in the same timeframe, according to Gartner.
“Bandwidth prices in India are 1,000 times more than places such as China and South Korea,” says Neha Gupta, senior research analyst, Gartner India.
According to Global Insight, China, with broadband revenues of more than $19 billion, will surpass Japan as the world's second-largest broadband market by 2011. As of December 06, India has 21 lakh subscribers according to Internet Service Providers Association of India.