Why India need to fix its slow internet problem

India has several major problems with its internet, being the slowest broadband speed in Asia and providing just 2 Mbps of average speed across the country. Before discussing major internet problems in India I will share with you my recent experience while travelling to India.

Recently I was travelling back to India. As I reached Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, I wanted to contact my family to let them know that my flight has arrived safely so I tried to connect to the airport WiFi to use the internet but per airport WiFi requirement I need an Indian registered number to connect to the WiFi service provided by the airport. Unfortunately I had no Indian sim card along with me to meet this requirement thus I was not able to connect to the internet.

Being not able to connect to the internet at the airport was such a disappointing experience, from a foreigner’s point of view this would be a really bad first impression thinking Indian government is pushing and promoting its Digital India programme internationally.

Upon reaching home in Punjab, India I tried to apply to get a local sim card, submitted the requirements but then found out that it would take at least three days to get the sim card activated and I would not be able to use my new sim card until it is fully activated.

Let us look at this from a different perspective, I am travelling to India for the first time I don’t have any Indian sim card so I won’t be able to connect to the internet upon reaching at the airport then it would take additional three days to get a new sim card activated, so on average it would take around 3 to 4 days for me to connect to the internet. Then lets say I am just travelling to India for just a week, three days would be a lot of time if I really need internet connection for my stay in the country.

These are small things yet can cost lots of money especially for first time travellers to India, well these checkpoints/requirements must have been set up by the government for security purposes like avoiding people from using sim cards without providing proper requirements but still the processing times need to be reduced. WiFi is one of the top priorities now days and not being able to connect because of a simple requirement is really frustrating to the user.

Slowest Internet Speed in Asia

According to Akamai’s recent State of the Internet report India has the second slowest internet speed in Asia with just 2 Mbps of average internet speed which is just half of the global average speed (4.6 Mbps).

India's average speed graph compared to western countries and South Korea.
India's Average Speed Graph

In addition to that India also has the lowest average mobile internet speed in Asia with just 1.4 Mbps. Though the peak internet speed (14.4 Mbps) in India is better compared to the global average peak speed of 25.4 Mbps.

Good news that the average internet speed in India is increasing, it was 2 Mbps in the last quarter of 2014 and BSNL recently upgrading from 512 Kbps to 2 Mbps for its subscribers, but the speed in India is nothing compared to South Korea’s average speed which has a whopping 24 Mbps.

Slow internet speed is really an issue in the country, few months ago Prime Minister Modi discussed the problem by himself with the telecom secretary of India Rakesh Garg to address this issue.

So before all services under Digital India like eGovernance which aims to provide government services electronically, services like providing audio-video training to students can kick–off India need to improve its internet speed situation across the country else Digital India would always stay a dream to the billion Indians especially to Prime Minister Modi.

India needs to improve its digital infrastructure to provide home broadband, 3G, and 4G services consistently to its citizens. As currently it is really difficult to achieve top speed provided by 3G and 4G networks even in the most developed cities in the country.

Companies like Google and Microsoft are helping India to improve its internet situation by bringing advanced technologies like Google Fibre to the country but still providing internet to just 400 railway stations won’t bring high speed internet to the billion Indians.

Another project under Digital India is to lay–off high speed fibre cables across the country but initially the target date was set to March 2016, but then extended to December 2016, and now there are rumors of extending the deadline even further to 2018.

Extending deadlines would not help the country to achieve its targets and represent itself as one of the leading digital nations to the world. India need to meet its set deadlines to show we are taking actions on what we have planned and not just bragging about it without achieving anything.

Internet is really the primary reason for a country to become digital and slow internet can cause electronic services to work very slowly or not work at all. Internet is one of the first things that India needs to fix before all other digital projects.

  • Comments
comments powered by Disqus