India is a diverse country characterized by uneven regional development.The urban and rural locations are distinguished by stark differences in terms of access to various amenities such as digital connectivity being one of those. It’s often difficult to view the unavailable internet when you enter the remote corners of rural hinterlands. An urban user can access any digital application anytime they want. But, when it comes to rural India, stable and affordable digital access is a huge barrier.
Rafikan, a middle-aged business owner of a grocery store in Dhanetta block of Alwar exchanges glitch-free agricultural programs with her family. Monalisa, a skilled tailor and leader of Self Help Group in Chandipur village of Howrah district in West Bengal is able to supplement her two sons with state board classes on a mobile application where internet connectivity is close to zero. This will be the reality of millions who are aspiring entrepreneurs, students, farmers across the country will have access to seamless digital content like OTT, e-commerce, edtech and much more.
Having access to digital content on smartphones with intermittent or patchy internet connectivity and zero data cost is no longer a dream, but will now soon become a reality for rural households. Making this dream a reality for the next billion in India is an aspiring set of talented pool of individuals from SugarBox Networks.
SugarBox with its hyperlocal content distribution network enabling internet access in remote geographies across the country. The company is bringing a miniaturized version of the cloud through mini servers at the doorstep for users. They will now be able to enjoy the many benefits of being digitally connected, previously unimagined in their area.
But, enabling technology is just one part of the solution. Entering the rural market business conundrum has many barriers like building logistics to deliver service, low levels of rural digital literacy, lack of understanding of consumer needs – few of the many barriers existing today. But this is exactly where we see a huge market potential in improving the lives of around 500 million digitally underserved customers. We are motivated by the plethora of opportunities that our technology solution will unlock for this huge market through our services.
Core part of solving this issue lies in building a strong sense of community engagement. To do that SugarBox decided to partner up with numerous NGOs who have a strong presence on ground with rural communities. Through these partnerships, we built a strong rural connect to support multiple social causes that the NGOs are at the forefront of solving. With the help of the intelligence from NGOs and our market research, SugarBox has selected multiple deployment locations such as Panchayat offices, CSC centers, schools and more. Furthermore, the content partners we have onboarded have a direct appeal to the rural community that include edtech partners, OTT and Ecommerce players. High foot traffic and engaging digital content coupled with strong community partners, helped us in cracking the rural accessibility challenges and set up a strong business case for future development.
There is something for everyone in this project including rural communities, NGOs, digital content partners. As part of the SugarBox strategy team working on this project, what we take back home with us at the end of the day is the satisfaction of working on a great cause and sharing this dream of building India with an amazingly passionate team.