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Developmental Issues

Kerala’s Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac tweeted on Thursday that the Kerala Fibre Optic Network project, pegged at Rs. 1,548 crore, would provide Internet to every household in the State. “For 20 lakh BPL households it will be free,” the tweet read.

The project is slated for completion by December 2020.

However, going by data in a recent report by the Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Kerala is already halfway to its goal of 100% coverage.

According to the report, titled ‘India Internet 2019,’ the State’s Internet penetration rate is the second highest in the country (54%), next only to Delhi NCR with 69% penetration.

The Internet penetration rate (defined as number of individuals aged above 12 per 100 population who accessed the Internet in the last month; survey period January-March 2019) was the lowest in Odisha (25), Jharkhand (26) and Bihar (28). It is to be noted that the figure for Jammu & Kashmir is not reflective of the current situation as the survey period was before it was divided.

Better urban services

The report also notes that Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Delhi have the highest proportion of female Internet users.

TRAI data as of June 2019 also show that Kerala is well-placed in terms of Internet connections. It stands fourth among all telecom service areas in terms of Internet subscriptions per 100 population, behind Delhi, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. In urban areas, it does better — it ranks second behind Himachal Pradesh.

The data

The data also show that Kerala has about 70 Internet subscriptions per 100 population across service areas.

Bihar has the lowest number, with 29 subscriptions per 100 population, while Uttar Pradesh’s number stands at 34.

It is to be noted that Kerala is among the States with a huge gap between the number of rural and urban Internet connections. This is also the case in Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.

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