Gurgaon ahead of ‘Silicon Valley’ Bangalore in Internet penetration

ImageAn internet revolution in India may be a long way off, but Gurgaon has taken the giant leap forward. The cyber city has high internet penetration, living up to its billing as the Millennium City. More households in Gurgaon log on to the Net than any district in the country. It has even beaten India's Silicon Valley, Bangalore, in the digital race. 

Census 2011 says the household penetration of the internet in Gurgaon is 20.9%. This is way above the national average of 10%. 

Gurgaon has a better score than even IT hubs Bangalore and Hyderabad and has overtaken mega cities like Delhi and Mumbai. The census says of the 3,20,000 households in Gurgaon, over 1,02,000 have computers and more than 67,000 are internet-enabled. 

Experts attribute Gurgaon's Net revolution to its large concentration of techies and professionals. "Most residents are employed in the IT and telecom companies and this explains the rising number of internet users," said Ibrahim Ahmed of Cyber Media, a research firm. 

Housing societies and residential colonies have also played their part, striking exclusive deals with internet service providers (ISPs) and offering 'broadband-ready ' apartments. "Realtors are partnering Net service providers to offer free installation in newly built flats," said Ahmed. 

Rajesh Charria, president of the Internet Service Providers of India, said 65% of the users are from the GenNext. "I am optimistic that internet penetration will rise in the next five years in Gurgaon," he said. 

Tech pundits predict that broadband will follow the same course as mobile telephony . But ISPs and telecom firms are still struggling to tap the rural markets, where broadband penetration is very low. In rural Gurgaon, of the 88,000 registered households , only 1.8% are connected. 

Charria said the Centre's new scheme-Bharat Broadband Network-will be able to bridge the digital divide. The scheme aims to connect at least 500 million users by 2020. Gurgaon deputy commissioner P C Meena, who also heads the district's IT Society, said the rising popularity of the internet will facilitate the state's new e-government schemes. 

"We will like to strengthen our e-governance infrastructure and introduce new internet-based initiatives ," he said. The Haryana government is also setting up a new data centre in Chandigarh and moving some of its departmental processes on a cloud-based model


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