Indians embracing internet access as a human right: study

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 14, 2019 12:28 hrs
Laptop (AP photo)

An overwhelming majority of Indians believe that internet usage can be leveraged for economic growth, social improvement and political advancement, according to a recent study by Booking Holdings.

The 'Next Billion Online' research study shows an attitude change similar to that seen in Western markets a decade ago. "The Indian population is beginning to embrace internet access as a human right due to its ubiquity and vital role in providing the connectivity and opportunity needed to advance in society today, it said.

The global leader in online accommodations and travel e-commerce conducted the study to explore the impact of digital transformation in Asia and gain insight into how increased internet access will affect burgeoning population in the region.

Booking Holdings surveyed more than 1,000 digital leaders and experts in Asia’s three most populous countries -- China, India and Indonesia -- to better understand their communities’ expectations, aspirations and areas of caution for the digital future.

Interestingly, 88 per cent of tech experts and opinion leaders believed that if the Next Billion gained internet access, there will be economic growth, 84 per cent feel that there will be social improvement and 65 per cent believe that it will cause political advancement.

About 95 per cent of respondents believed that the 'Next Billion in India' will use internet as a useful and empowering tool to advance their social standing.The country is projected to have the second largest internet user base in the world. With a growing number of users, India’s economic opportunity is anticipated to boom due to new learning opportunities presented online. While 75 per cent of them will spend time on social media, a close 71 per cent will use it for news.

Around 67 per cent of them will use it for voice or video calls, 64 per cent will use the internet to send messages and 59 per cent will use it for research. About 86 per cent of respondents said that increased gender equality will drive adoption, and 91 per cent said greater digital participation will also improve gender equality in their country.“Looking at the ways in which respondents anticipate the Next Billion using internet, a picture emerges of aspirations waiting to be unleashed," Booking Holdings' CEO Glenn Fogel.

"When these consumers are finally connected to internet, it is likely to accelerate a whole range of areas including the retail market, the job market and leisure and entertainment landscape,” he said.