Earlier this month, the one millionth active .IN domain name was registered according to the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI). This includes registrations across all second level domains including .org.in, .ac.in and .co.in.
The number of registrations has grown from 550,000 registrations as of November 2009.
The potential for growth is enormous though as despite the growth of the economy over the past decade, India’s information economy remains impoverished compared with its potential says a Live Mint report by Osama Manzar, founder and director of Digital Empowerment Foundation and chairman of the Manthan award.
“Although the third highest in the world, India’s 100 million Internet users are just eight per cent of its national population. It seems particularly low when we consider that more than 70 per cent [of] Indians are using mobile phones.”
Manzar notes that even though there are a million domain name registrations in the world’s second most populous nation of around 1.2 billion people, there is a lot of potential with more than four million not-for-profit organisations, more than 26 million micro and small companies, more than 1.5 million schools and more than a quarter million government bodies and organisations.
The potential is exemplified by there being 800 million mobile phone connections, and 500 million mobile phone users. The article wonders how many of these will soon access the internet through mobile phones. Maybe half?
“This can happen — but only if the government and telecom companies push hard for it. N. Ravi Shanker, additional secretary in the information technology ministry, suggests that all telecommunications firms should provide users a free domain name corresponding to their mobile number, with .in extension. Perhaps we need this kind of disruptive thinking.”
Manzar believes new generic Top Level Domains offer potential to help grow the number of domain names used in India and says he would be “extremely happy if the Indian government applied for .INDIA or .BHARAT, and certainly .PANCHAYAT. It is also being suggested strongly that government get .DELHI, .MUMBAI, .BANGALORE, .CHENNAI, .KOLKATA and .HYDERABAD and open them for the common good, so that they are not commercially exploited.”
Manzar is also involved in a project to apply for the .NGO gTLD, “aggressively campaigning all over India, Nepal and Bangladesh among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to adopt the Internet and become visible.”
“We have already gained about 500 NGOs, but bringing all NGOs on .ngo in the next three-five years will be a huge challenge — as well as an accomplishment I will cherish, not only for them being online but because localized communities coming online will create a better and a more equitable Internet.”
The full article by Osama Manzar, founder and director of Digital Empowerment Foundation and chairman of the Manthan award, is available at www.livemint.com/2011/10/23215811/Let8217s-make-the-Internet.html. Manzar is also a member of the Working Group for Internet Governance Forum at the ministry of communications and information technology.