In India, Internet expansion and primate saboteurs

April 7, 2015

India’s efforts to provide more people with Internet have come under attack by some of the country’s other residents.

Just 0.53 percent of Indians—5.5 million people—had Internet access in 2000. But as this Reuters graphic shows, India’s Internet penetration rate has grown dramatically since then and now sits at over 19 percent, with an estimated 243 million Indians now connected. That’s good for third highest in the world behind the U.S.’s 280 million users and China’s amazing reach of 641 million people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not done yet, undertaking an ambitious $18 billion plan to install 435,000 miles of broadband cable in an effort to connect India’s 250,000 villages within three years—and create 100 “smart cities” by 2020 to boot.

However, all of this expansion hasn’t come without some unique infrastructure headaches. In the 3,000-year-old holy city of Varanasi, fiber optic cable-eating macaque monkeys have frustrated efforts to bring more people online, as this Reuters video shows.

As excuses go, “monkeys ate my Internet expansion plan” is up there with “the dog ate my homework,” so Modi’s hoping that India’s technological solutions work more synergistically with its natural wonders as the growth push continues.

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