As per the Economic Survey that was conducted in 2020 in relation to broadband and the internet, the average data consumption per subscriber per month has shot up from 9.1GB in March 2019 to 12.2GB in June 2020. In other aspects, the internet, as well as broadband penetration, has grown rapidly in both urban and rural areas, with the number of subscribers for broadband and narrowband being 776.4 million, in comparison to 636.7 million in March 2019.
Wireless Data Usage Witness Exponential Growth in 2020
Wireless data usage too saw exponential growth during 2019, with the usage being a whopping 76.47 ExaBytes (1 billion GB). In comparison, during January-September 2020, the usage had reached an excess of 75.21 ExaBytes, stated the Economic Survey. The 75.12 ExaBytes data is just for the first nine months of 2020, and the number would be even higher if we consider October, November and December months' consumption.
Most importantly, the average wireless data consumption per subscriber in a given month shot up from 9.1GB in March 2019 to 12.2GB in June 2020, owing mostly to the pandemic and the shift to electronic methods for both personal as well as commercial tasks.
That being said, there is still a gap between users and efforts are being done in this sector so as to shorten the digital gap between different people from certain areas.
The survey stated that as of January 15, around 4.8 lakh km of optical fibre cables have been laid to cover 1.6 lakh Gram Panchayats, with 1.5 lakh Gram Panchayats having become service ready. Talking about some numbers related to wireless networks, wireless telephony constituted 98% of all subscriptions, while shares of landline telephones as of November stood at 1.7%. Overall teledensity in the country stood at 86% at the end of November.
Meanwhile, tele-density in rural as well as urban areas stood at 59% and 139% respectively. Whilst this year did see a rise in terms of the density, especially in the context of rural areas, the gap between the two areas are still quite large, which needs to be tackled in a cost-effective manner.
To tackle this, the government is taking some steps and has planned the Digital India programme, under which, the network infrastructure will be established for broadband highways, which would be accessible despite any bias, to provide affordable services to citizens and institutions within rural areas.
This would be done with help from states and private sectors, so as to make this idea a reality, With this broadband in place, we could finally see this gap being bridged, in a cost-effective manner.