Business Models for the Last Billion: Market Approaches to Increasing Internet Connectivity

  • Date Posted: January 12, 2017
  • Authors: Steve Schmida, Isaac Williams, Caitlin Lovegrove
  • Organizations/Projects: ssg-advisors
  • Document Types: Assessment
  • Donor Type: Non-US Government Agency

The Internet is an essential part of daily life. It allows access to job applications, financial services, and pertinent government information. In fact, studies have shown that internet connectivity increases opportunities for education, gender empowerment and economic growth.

Yet four billion people lack access to the Internet. 

This report describes the emergence of innovative, low-cost business models that can enable the world’s lowest-income consumers to participate in the emerging digital economy. In preparing it, the authors sought the input of over 100 industry and technology leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, government officials and development practitioners, using a combination of interviews and highly interactive small-group sessions held in five global locations. 

The input participants provided both surprised and inspired this report’s authors: there is an enormous potential market, a range of novel uses of existing technologies, and a host of new innovative business models, all of which create great potential for connecting the most challenging markets sustainably and profitably.