India has the second largest number of Internet subscribers in the world after China in 2017
India has over 460 million internet users in India. The rise in internet awareness and literacy keeps this number is growing everyday. However, factors such as network shutdowns, cyberattacks, among others impact internet internet freedom like no other.However, unlike last year when the number of network shutdowns ordered by local authorities increased dramatically, this year observed comparatively lesser incidents including temporary telecommunication service shutdowns, among others.
According to Freedom on the Net 2017 report, improving internet access in India was offset by network and social media shutdowns ordered by authorities. It was worse in other countries. Online manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role in elections in at least 18 countries in 2016, including the United States. An record number of governments have restricted mobile internet service for political or security reasons, often in areas populated by ethnic or religious minorities. For the third consecutive year, China was the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom, followed by Syria and Ethiopia.
India has the second largest number of Internet subscribers in the world after China in 2017, having overtaken the United States. Still, internet penetration in India remains low, reaching 33% in June 2017,5 up from 27% in June 2016. However, mobile penetration in India increased from 81% in 2016 to 92% by June 2017. The Broadband Commission ranked India 78 out of 196 countries in terms of mobile broadband penetration, up from 156 out of 179 countries the previous year.
In the last three years, India has taken some tough stands towards privacy. In 2015, The Supreme Court struck down Section 66A of the IT Act, which allowed arrests for objectionable content online, and upheld citizen's rights to freedom and expression. This year in 2017, the SC upheld privacy as a fundamental right. This, and the stabilization of internet freedom, is a sign that India is maturing and adjusting to a digital economy.