When Internet Started in India?

Posted On August 18th, 2023

UpdateThe Internet has become a crucial part of everybody’s lifestyle. It has become a significant element in every field, whether education, research or communications. It has swept across every aspect of professional, cultural, and economic parts of organizations in every part of the world. Throughout the last two decades, India has seen a tremendous increase in technology. One such element that has taken India by storm is the Internet.

The Internet was introduced in India in 1986 but was only accessible to educational, military and research domains. Later, after a decade, it was accessible to the general public on 15th August 1995 by Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL). The launch of computer networking and the Internet brought a huge IT revolution in India and impacted several aspects of life.

History of Internet

India first launched the Internet in 1986 with the help of the Educational Research Network (ERNET). Department of Electronics (DoE) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) jointly started the network. It was initially available only to the education and research industries. The network involved eight significant institutions namely the Indian Institute of Science, NCST Bombay, five Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur), Kharagpur, and Chennai), and the DoE in New Delhi.

Previously, the Internet was accessed with the help of a modem. A modem is a device that helps to transmit data over cable/telephone lines by transforming analog signals into digital signals. However, the modem was a bit complicated to use as it did not connect easily to the telephone lines. Even though if the modem was connected, there were various interruptions while surfing the Internet. Additionally, it required repeatedly dialing, to connect with the bigger networks.

The first Internet service, known as the Gateway Internet Access Service (GIAS) had 10,000 subscribers within six months of its launch. It provided a speed of 9.6 kbit/s. However, the service had several hardware and network problems. In 1996, few news publishers launched their websites. In 1997, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) was launched and by March 1998, the number of subscribers increased to 90,000. Later, private companies started offering Internet services to the general public. Furthermore, several internet and telecom companies were started. Hence, the number of internet users increased drastically worldwide.

In 2004, the government defined its broadband policy and declared broadband as the Internet connection with a download speed of 256 kbit/s. Eventually, from next year, the growth of broadband in India increased at a rapid rate.

Internet Usage

Today, the Internet is used everywhere in offices, schools, railway stations, airports, public spots and on our phones.  Several technologies are used like ISDN, 3G, 4G, etc. After China, India is the second country with millions of Internet users.

As the prices of smartphones are reducing, the usage of the Internet is expected to rise in the coming years. However, speed will be the area of concern. Although the average speed has increased to 7.2 Mbps, India is still lagging behind other countries.

Internet Service Providers in India

There are 584 service providers in India that offer broadband and narrowband services. The top six internet service providers in India are the following:

  • BSNL
  • Airtel XStream Fiber
  • Reliance JioFiber
  • Excitel Broadband
  • Hathway

Growth Of Internet in India

One of the challenges India faces is the slow growth of the Internet as compared to other countries. Hence, to overcome this challenge, the Indian government suggested a 690 billion broadband infrastructure to connect all villages, towns, and cities. Under the government’s Universal Service Obligation program, the expansion of broadband is encouraged in rural areas. Therefore, the government plans to subsidize pricing for rural users and encourage more investment in rural infrastructures.

The future of the Internet seems to be very positive in India. Emerging technologies like 5G and machine learning will bring much high-speed access to the Internet and make it more personalized. Google and Tata had launched a project named Internet Saathi to increase Internet literacy usage, especially amongst women in rural areas. The network provided speeds up to 10 Mbit/s in 63 metropolitan areas and 4 Mbit/s in an additional 352 cities. Moreover, the Internet penetration rate in India is medium as compared to other developed countries where the average rate is over 50%.

Benefits Of Internet Usage in India

India has seen tremendous internet growth over the past few years. However, many households and rural areas are unable to access it due to a lack of infrastructure and affordability.

There are several advantages of having an internet connection. These advantages include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Financial independence
  • Powerful search engines
  • An effective method of communication
  • Greater access to information.

Because the internet is very important in today’s world, it is essential that every household should be connected to the internet to reap the benefits.

The internet has been a blessing for India. It is a great platform where people can communicate and express their thoughts with each other. It has helped in the economic development of the country.

Due to the cheaper data plans and increased availability of smartphones, a huge part of India is connected to the internet. This resulted in an increase in online shopping, the use of social media, online education, banking, e-commerce, and other digital activities, which have improved India’s economy as well as society at large.


The internet has been a game-changer in India. Consequently, it has introduced new ways of interacting and accessing information. India has a huge potential for growth in the future, and it will largely impact the world’s digital economy.


When Internet started in India?

Internet services were started on 15th August 1995 in India.

What was the average speed of the initial Internet service?

The first launch of the Internet was with dial-up access at the rate of 25,000 for   250 hr TCP/IP and a speed of upto 9.6kbps.

Which country has the largest smartphone market?

India is the second largest smartphone market after China.

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