Number of internet users in India 2017-2019 by region

India’s digital adoption has been driven by the rural heartland of the country, registering a high growth of internet users compared to their urban counterparts. In 2017, there were 186 million internet users in rural India compared to 295 million urban internet users. However, it was estimated that by 2019, over 290 million rural Indians would be accessing the internet.

Bridging the internet gap

This jump in rural internet penetration was largely owing to the increased availability of bandwidth, cheap data plans and various government initiatives under the Digital India campaign. As of 2019, over 118 thousand village and small-town councils, called Gram Panchayats, were equipped with internet access across India. Of these, Uttar Pradesh had the maximum connectivity in its rural areas with over 28 thousand internet equipped gram panchayats. These factors also led to an overall spike in the internet penetration rates across the country. From just over 27 percent internet penetration rate in 2015, India reached almost 49 percent by 2019.

A perspective on the numbers

Although these figures seem relatively low, it indicated that over 227 million rural Indians and nearly 410 million urban Indians now had access to the internet in 2019. This ranked India second in terms of active internet users across the world that same year.

Number of internet users in India from 2017 to 2018 with a forecast for 2019, by region

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Release date

March 2019



Survey time period

2017 and 2018

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