Jio, the 4G service from Reliance Industries, is yet to reach people. But the company is beta testing it for several months with little over 1 million users. And the numbers it has collected so far, apart from showing the good or bad quality of Jio services, paint an interesting picture about India’s internet scene. It is not a pretty picture.Buried among the numbers in Reliance’s quarterly report recently were some figures related to Jio. Of them, one particularly stood out. Reliance said that currently it is seeing on average 26GB monthly usage from each Jio user! Users consuming 26GB on average every month on a wireless connection shows the hunger for data connectivity in India. The affordable, reliable, and fast internet connectivity is just not available in India and now when (some) people have given access to something that resembles a proper internet connection, they are leeching data just like parched man would guzzle water.Interestingly, it is not just about the Jio usage data. Also noteworthy is the buzz among those who don’t have it and are clamouring to get it. Recently, when there was a bug in the Jio app that potentially allowed anyone to get the Jio SIM, there was such rush for it that within a couple of days Reliance patched the app, squashing the bug.The state of the Indian internet is so bad that the country comes last or among the laggards in the list after list that describe internet speed and reliability in various countries. Here, in India we lack good wired connectivity, something that is the backbone of internet access in most countries. We also lack good wireless connectivity with most networks unable to handle even voice calls, let alone high-speed data.Most of the wired connections sold in India come with a limit of 10GB to 20GB per month, even when they are unlimited. With the wireless connections it is sadder as the limits run into from 2GB to 10GB. In a world of YouTube, NetFlix, Facebook Videos and incessant WhatsApp and Twitter use, this data that internet service providers dole out is outrageously low.There are many parties to blame for such sorry state. Government, telecom companies, regulatorsâ€¦ you name it. But now let’s hope that Jio, even if it doesn’t deliver on all its promises, will at least bring in some competition to the market and a kind of service that resembles something decent.
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