Internet cables
Only one in four Indians uses internet.Wikimedia Commons

 Despite talk of Digital India, only one-in-four in the country reported using the Internet in 2017, which is among the lowest in the world, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. It puts India along with sub-Saharan Africa as the least most connected nations.

South Korea stands out as the most heavily connected society, with 96 percent of adults reporting Internet use, showed the survey conducted in 37 countries.

Smartphone ownership among adults in India went up from 12 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in 2017, while social media use went up from eight to 20 percent during the same period. That means 78 percent of adults in India do not own a smartphone and a whopping 80 percent of the population in the country has no clue about Facebook or Twitter.

While the gap in internet use between emerging and advanced economies has narrowed in recent years, there are still large swaths of the world where significant numbers of citizens do not use the Internet, the study said.

Internet penetration rates -- as measured by Internet use or smartphone ownership -- remain high in North America and much of Europe, as well as in parts of the Asia-Pacific. Yet, others are not far behind. In Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, the US, Israel, the UK, Germany, France and Spain, roughly nine-in-ten report Internet use.

Regionally, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the least wired parts of the globe. However, among people who use the Internet, those in developing countries often turn out to be more likely than their counterparts in advanced economies to network via platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

In 2013, only 16 percent of Indians were online, and it jumped up marginally to 25 percent in 2017. Over the last five years, emerging and developing economies showed a steady increase in internet use. During a 2015-16 survey, four in ten adults said they used social networking.

Between 2013 and 2014, the number of internet users in emerging and developing economies was at 42 percent, which increased to 64 percent in 2017. Smartphone ownership has also grown, from around a quarter in 2013-14 to 42 percent in 2017.

In advanced economies, internet users remained flat with a median of 87 percent in 2017, as compared to 86 percent in 2015-16. Smartphone ownership was also relatively flat at 72 percent in 2017, the same rate as in 2015-16.

[With inputs from IANS]