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Every 200th Punjabi has a broadband connection
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
If broadband density is any indication of economic growth, Punjab looks far ahead of its neighbours. Every 200th Punjabi has a broadband connection.

It is not only in broadband, the Punjab circle also ranks among the top five in the country in per capita mobile connections.

While the number of broadband connections in hill states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir are less than 10,000 each, Haryana is slightly better placed. Excluding Gurgaon and Faridabad areas, which are covered by the MTNL, the rest of Haryana had 40,212 broadband connections till December 31 last year.

The number of broadband connections in Jammu & Kashmir was 9,597 while in Himachal Pradesh it was only 6,693.

In Punjab, those with broadband connections numbered 1,06,892. This number, however, includes broadband subscribers in Chandigarh also. As of now, the BSNL is no more able to grant broadband connections in major Punjab towns and Chandigarh.

At one stage, Punjab was not allowed sufficient bandwidth because of which the IT industry had started moving out in late 90s. Since then, things have changed and the Union government amended its policies. The amended policy as announced in 2004 facilitated free availability of broadband connections by the BSNL in Punjab.

The market share of the BSNL has shrunk fast. From 47.69 per cent in 2005, it has now dropped to 31.29 per cent. But broadband connectivity is mainly with the BSNL.

Interestingly, the density of broadband connections in Punjab is higher than the national average. In all, there are only 30,19,521 broadband connections in the country.

Southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, besides Maharashtra, have outscored all other states in broadband connectivity. Andhra has 2,34,099 connections, Karnataka 3,31,937 and Maharashtra, including Goa, 6,54,308.

While Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are the biggest exporters of software, Punjab lags behind them besides some other states in the software production.

In North India, Delhi leads with 4,09,057 broadband clients. This number also includes subscribers in Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad.

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