Global Internet growth is slowing down. Despite the ongoing digital revolution, some 56 percent of the world is still not online. The number of new Internet subscribers grew in single digits since 2013. The slowdown stems from barriers to Internet access that are created by deficiencies in the critical markets that deliver a meaningful Internet experience. We need new mechanisms so that the markets for connectivity, content creation, and retail remove these barriers to digital inclusion.
High-touch sales models can provide the Internet with the same community selling, education, and validation that poorer consumers want before they buy new goods or services.
Brand subsidies can enable the poorest to use the Internet. Subsidies have provided millions in India with access to the Internet for the first time.
Simpler value propositions, such as bundled access and content plans or “pay-per-app” plans, reduce the financial risk for new users. They also ease the distribution of Internet services.
1. Shifting the spectrum away from 2G: Internet becomes more affordable
2. Better offline distribution of content: People able to download locally cached content and consume it offline
3. More national and international Internet infrastructure: Internet access prices are cheaper
4. Relevant educational content: Provides a compelling reason to go online
5. Social services online: Allows citizens to engage with their government more easily and makes them less vulnerable to corruption
6. Economic opportunity content: People go online because they can earn more, be more productive, and have wider market access
7. High-touch sales models: Provide the community selling, education, and validation that poorer consumers desire before taking on new goods or services
8. Brand- or subscriber-subsidized access: Gives the poorest cheap access
9. Simpler value propositions: Reduces the financial risk for new users
10. Disruptive technologies: Technological innovations will reach the remotest and the very poorest