A study has found that there are 52 million active internet users in India, while about 71 million Indians have ‘claimed’ to have used the Internet in 2009.

In a joint report titled ‘Internet in India’, Internet & Mobile Association of India(IAMAI) and Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) said the number of people who ‘claimed’ to have used internet in 2009 stood at 71 million.

‘Claimed users’ (those who said they had used the internet in some form, say for checking results online, during the year) is an important category for understanding future trends in active user base, the study added.

However, the number of active internet users rose to 52 million in September 2009 from 42 million in September 2008, registering a year on year-on-year growth of 19 per cent.

Active users are those who access the Internet at least once in a month.

“This surge in number has been primarily due to the increased numbers of the users in the remote urban pockets (small metros and towns) and among lower socio-economic classes (SEC C, D and E),” it said.

Internet usage has also gone up from 9.3 hrs/week to 15.7 hrs/week, a steep 70 per cent rise, the report said.

This can be attributed to innovative content delivery, better applications and its increased use for entertainment purposes, which comprises downloading music or videos, socialising through social networking sites and expressing one’s own opinions and views through micro-blogging and user-generated content sites, it added.

“We are happy to note while people in the smaller towns are taking to internet seriously, for a deeper engagement we need to provide them the best innovations in the language of their choice, at an access cost that does not pinch and through a device that they have. Only then this engagement is going to be sustainable,” IAMAI President Subho Ray said.