In the last 10 years, telephone chatter has been growing in Tamil Nadu.

At the turn of the century, only five per cent of the rural population had access to telephone.

12-fold increase

Data thrown up by the census of households done in 2011 shows that a staggering 66.3 per cent of the rural population in the State now own telephone. That is a 12-fold increase in 10 years.

And 57.3 per cent own a mobile phone. The percentage of those who have a landline connection is 4.9 and those with both 4.1.

Relatively speaking, urban telephony has quadrupled from 19.9 per cent in 2001 to 84.1 per cent out of which 67.3 per cent have mobiles and 10.3 per cent both.

Another quantum jump in the quality of rural life is the presence of television sets.

The percentage of rural populace with a television increased from 24.3 to 85.3 between 2001 and 2011. This could be attributed to the distribution of 1.62 crore sets of colour televisions during the five years of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam that had spent nearly Rs.4,000 crore on the free TV scheme. In the same period, the percentage of urban households with a television was up from 60.7 to 88.7.

Aversion to audio medium

However, Tamils developed some aversion to the audio medium during the same period.

Households with a radio or a transistor dwindled from 43.5 per cent to 22.7 with nearly half of the houses in urban and rural areas leaving behind their sets to switch to the visual medium.

Despite the penetration and high density of mobile telephony, only 16.9 per cent of the State's population has a computer or a laptop.

Internet connection

In urban areas, only 7.6 per cent of the households have internet connection and in villages, the net penetration is a poor 1.0 per cent.

May be, the free laptop scheme to students from this year will change the way the State surfs in the future.

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