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Last Updated : Nov 14, 2013 09:02 AM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

India to beat US in internet users by June 2014

With over 200 million internet users, India is expected to be become the second-largest internet base by the time Mukesh Ambani's flagship broadband business kicks off.

By June 2014, India is expected to have 243 million internet users. At this point, it will overtake the US as the second-largest internet base in the world. This projection will be one step closer to reality when Reliance Industries launches its broadband operations in the next few months, report CNBC-TV18's Kritika Saxena and Archana Shukla.

Also Read: Amazon tries free, on-time delivery to lure India online

With over 200 million internet users, India is expected to be become the second-largest internet base by the time Mukesh Ambani's flagship broadband business kicks off. Ambani, who was speaking at the Re-imagining India event, says this broadband revolution will help India leapfrog into the number-one spot as internet markets go and bring to the fore one billion opportunities.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman, RIL, says: "I think that we are at the cusp of time where every one of our 1.1 billion Indians will be empowered, will have a voice and we will see them participating and it is important that we recognise that each and every Indian counts and getting that kind of a process and I have said this many times, in this mindset if we have this collective mindset then India is a 1.1 billion opportunity." 

The mobile internet user-base is growing at over 40 percent and will stand at 130 million users by the end of the year.

Rural India is witnessing the better part of this revolution. The internet base has been growing at over 58 percent year-on-year since June 2012... It currently stands at around 60 million. The rural mobile internet base stands at 27 million, with 70 percent of rural internet users opting for the mobile platform.

Ambani says: "If you take broadband technology, if you take the opportunities, here access is irrespective of geography so you can access them in all the 5,4,32000 cities and the 600 thousand villages in literally a matter of a couple of years and then the scale up and that’s what gives me optimism and positivity."

But Ambani admits that technology without the requisite skill-set will be like a horse without a rider. A big mistake, since it could ultimately become a question of productivity.

He adds: "I think that technology in a sense can solve the most difficult problem, which today is the current account deficit - bulk of it is because of import of energy. I think for a country like India we have no other option but to rely on tech even to solve our energy problems. But the perquisite of that is education to really skill our 250 million young Indians to make sure that we make the most of where human kind is going to embrace technology."

This thrust on technology is not surprising. Remember, Mukesh Ambani promised his shareholders at his company's last annual general meeting that its broadband foray will roll out by March 2014... And getting that done has been Reliance Jio's focus for the last few months, especially, as it looks to skip squabbling over 3G, and get its 4G platform in place.

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First Published on Nov 13, 2013 09:29 pm
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