In a year sprinkled with controversy and 3G auction hiccups, our nation's intense communications requirement prevailed over all odds. The Ministry of Communications & Information Technology recently reported that the domestic telecommunications network grew by an impressive 40 per cent during 2010 with addition of 216.13 million connections. Telephone connections stood at 742.13 million on October 31, 2010, whereas it was only 526 million on the same day previous year. Of these 706.70 million are wireless connections, which now makes the Indian Telecom Network, the largest wireless network in the world.
It is interesting to note that today, wireless subscribers not only outnumber wireline subscribers in the country, but the volumes are also increasing at a much faster pace. To give you a historic view consider this fact - wireless phones have increased from 5.26 per cent in 1999 to 95.23% in October 2010. The year also witnessed two more telecom companies crossing the 100 million mark in terms of wireless connections. Bharti Airtel was the first Indian Operator to achieve the landmark in 2009. It was followed by Vodafone and Reliance Communication in 2010.
The news also came with some interesting figures on Internet and Broadband penetration. According to the report broadband subscribers grew from 0.18 million in 2005 to 8.8 million as on March 31, 2010 and about 10.34 million, at the end of the October, 2010. Internet subscribers grew from 9.2 million during QE June 2007 to 17.96 million during QE September 2010.
Looking at the future, the powers that be have envisioned some rather ambitious targets. Case in point - 1 billion by the end of 2015. It has also been proposed in the Eleventh Plan targets to provide the broadband for all secondary and higher secondary schools; all Public Health Care Centers and Gram Panchayats. Here's hoping for more connected future for everyone.