Internet resilience has multiple components. Graphic credit: Unsplash and Internet Society
India’s Internet is high on security, but could improve infrastructure and market readiness

By Anand Parthasarathy
August 14, 2023: Based on an  agency report a few days ago, many  in the  media headlined that India lagged behind its  neighbours in Internet resilience. A close study of the original source plus other monitors of the global Internet would however show that this a  cup-half empty approach.
 According to  the recent  finding of  the annual study by the  US based non profit Internet Society titled Pulse Internet Resilience Index (IRI), India’s IRI is 43% to Bhutan’s 58%, Bangladesh 51%, Maldives 54% percent and Sri Lanka 47 %.  The country is ahead of Pakistan.
The IRI draws upon more than 20 open data sources to calculate a snapshot of a country’s Internet resilience in terms of its:
-Infrastructure — The existence and availability of physical infrastructure that provides Internet connectivity.
-Performance — The ability of the network to provide end-users with seamless and reliable access to Internet services.
-Security — The ability of the network to resist intentional or unintentional disruptions through the adoption of security technologies and best practices.
-Market Readiness — The ability of the market to self-regulate and provide affordable prices to end-users by maintaining a diverse and competitive market.
According to the details for India, the country’s Internet scores high on security – 66 percent, with good routing hygiene,  domain name security and protection against attacks. Importantly it is one of the world’s largest networks 100%  compliant with the latest Ipv6 Internet protocol  -- something less than half the world’s networks  or 46% have achieved.
However where India needs to improve is on  infrastructure (score 31%) and market readiness (score35%.).
Affordability is rated very high (87%) with one of the world’s cheapest Internet plans.
In the survey there is no weightage  for size or speed of  the network – and  this does matter.  The Indian network is  larger than that of all the other four nations cited put together so obviously the  infrastructural challenge is   a bigger challenge.
The other  national ratings  in the Internet Society Index for comparison are USA 58%, UK 60%,  UAE 48%,  Germany 66%, Russia 57%,  Norway 66%  with a global average of 57%
Does speed matter?
Average  speed is also an important factor – it  must sustain  the  heavy use of the system for digital payments and other  services that touch the majority of  users.
The industry’s  popular Ookla speed test  maintains a log of global Net speeds – both on mobile devices and on fibre networks.  India ranks no. 55 among  180 countries  for  mobile speed of  42.75 MBPS and  no. 83 for a fixed internet speed of 53.18 MBPS. 
Interestingly  the speed on mobile phones in India which is how 800 million connections access the Internet ( according to the Telecom Authority of India) is faster than available in the UK ( 41.35 MBPS). That nation however offers a  faster fixed line speed of 81.12 MBPS.  It is therefore a case of national priorities:  citizens or business.   India has  put its money in empowering its  large population first   which may not be a bad thing after all.
 The pointers to  infrastructure and market readiness leaving room for improvement is something planners may need to address.

This report has appeared in Swarajya