Hyderabad, Jul 25: Tamil Nadu has maximum number of urban internet subscribers in India accounting for over nine per cent of country's total 231 million urban subscribers, with Maharashtra and Delhi having over 19 million users each.
Tamil Nadu boasts of over 21 million urban internet subscriber base, with Maharashtra and Delhi competing almost neck-to-neck with 19.7 million and 19.6 million subscribers respectively, followed by Karnataka with 17 million users, as on March, 2016. The urban internet subscriber base stands at 231 million.
That, along with 112 million of rural subscribers, pegs the total internet subscriber base in India at over 342 million, according to government data giving service area-wise break-up of rural and urban internet subscriber base. The telecom circle of UP East has the highest number of rural internet subscribers at 11.2 million and almost a matching number of urban users.
Maharashtra is next in this pecking order with 9.7 million rural internet subscribers, with Andhra following close on heels with just over 9 million rural internet subscribers. To improve internet penetration in rural areas, government is in the process of establishing a massive network infrastructure by connecting all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through optical fibre, providing broadband connectivity by all categories of service providers.
The ambitious project BharatNet (formerly National Optical Fibre Network project) is planned to be implemented in three phases. In the first phase, one lakh gram panchayats will be connected by March 2017, and this connectivity would be further extended to the remaining 1.5 lakh panchayats by December 2018.
The third phase involving a future-proof network involving fibre between districts and blocks, is planned to be completed by 2023.