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From...
Industry Standard

India paves way to Net

August 4, 1999
Web posted at: 12:08 p.m. EDT (1608 GMT)

by Sanjit Singh

NEW DELHI, India (IDG) -- In a flurry of activity aimed at getting the country online, India has licensed over 100 private Internet service providers since it ended a state monopoly on Nov. 6, 1998. The new ISPs promise to lead millions more Indians to the Internet.

With the proliferation of ISPs, analysts predict a huge boom in Internet usage in India. The crowd of new providers has ended a lock by the state-run international telecommunications carrier, Videsh Sanchar Nigam, which kept access rates high and connection speeds low.
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Last week, the Indian government said that the number of licenses issued was expected to top 175.

Since December 1998, the access rate per hour has dropped by more than 50 percent to 34 cents per hour from 70 cents per hour - and the number of Internet users in India has doubled to 300,000 from 150,000.

If predictions hold true, the number of users will touch 1.5 million by the end of 2000.

Across Asia, Internet users are expected to total 64 million in 2003, up from 15 million in 1998, according to Rajeev Gupta, Asia Internet analyst at Goldman Sachs. Of the 64 million users, 70 percent will come from India, Australia, China and South Korea.

In a recent report, Gupta forecast that Internet users in India would climb to 9 million by 2003, while the number of ISPs would top 400 by that year.

"We believe even this number could be understated, given collective computing [the sharing of one computer by many people] in India," Gupta said.

Sanjit Singh writes for the IDG News Service.



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RELATED SITES:
The India Group list of ISPs in India
The Indian Network Information Centre (INNIC)
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