Though 2020 will go down in history as the Corona pandemic year, the pandemic forced the people across the globe to face lockdowns in different stages and prompted a new culture of Work From Home (WFH) using digital means to communicate.
It has expanded widely in India and neighbouring Bangladesh, as per official statistics.
Internet connections in India have crossed the 75 crore mark this year. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) there were 74.9 crore internet connections by the end of June this year of which narrowband were 5 crores and broadband went up to 69.2 crores. The total number of internet connections, including narrowband, broadband and adding in other domains, were put at 76.7 crores.
Roughly speaking, slightly more than half of India’s 1.37 billion-strong population now enjoys internet coverage. It also makes India the second-largest online market in the world after China. The journey to cross 75 crore mark has taken 25 years since internet services were made available to the public in August 1995.
Meanwhile, under the government’s “Digital Bangladesh” plan the number of internet users increased by 5.8 million (*9.5%) between 2019 and 2020 in the neighbouring country. It is likely to increase further due to widespread virtual programmes and classes for students across the country. t penetration in Bangladesh stood at 41% in January 202
Statistics indicate that nearly 61 per cent of all internet connections are in urban areas and 97 per cent of them are through mobiles and dongles. Three Southern States – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh — along with Western States of Maharashtra and Gujarat account for 26 crore connections representing 35 per cent of the total net connections. Highest internet penetration was seen in the national capital Delhi and the adjoining area which is called the National Capital Region (NCR).
Five years ago, India’s internet penetration stood at 27 per cent and the strides made since then have resulted in taking adequate internet coverage of the population to about 50 per cent. According to Lt-General (Retd.) S P Kochhar, Director-General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), there have to be more network rollouts and the internet must be affordable while ensuring the quality of service. The COAI has also argued in favour of the Government revisiting fees and charges which have affected the sector.
According to the Ministry of Information Technology and Electronics, digital payments in India stood at Rs. 11,039 crores at the end of September this year.
In Bangladesh, there were 66.44 million internet users in January 2020, which is 41% penetration-wise.
The social media users also increased by 3.0 million and penetration-wise 22% in January 2020, but officials said it has increased manifold due to COVID-19.
The number of mobile connections in Bangladesh in January 2020 was equivalent to 99% of the total population of 160 million people.
It is nor far way when it will hit 100%, officials said.