Category : Best Innovation in SDG Inclusion
Innovation Title : WiFi Haat
Organization : Carnival Internet
WiFi Haat is a part of Carnival Internet’s ongoing commitment to empower rural Bangladesh with seamless internet connectivity, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. Internet cards from WiFi Haat enable users to enjoy unlimited high-speed internet at an affordable price, enabling freelancers, students, and job-seekers, in remote villages to empower themselves by learning new skills and earning. Till date, more than 1 million people have taken skill-based training from Carnival Internet’s learning platform Ghoori Learning through WiFi Haats. Many of these people are now making a living through freelancing for local and international entities.
With 129 million internet users (mostly mobile internet), and 54 percent rural households not having access to internet, Bangladesh still lags far behind in terms of a digitally connected nation. Connectivity is still very much urban centric and benefits of a connected society are only visible in the major 2 -3 cities of the country. One study by the World Bank concludes that a 10-percentage point increase in fixed broadband penetration would increase GDP growth by 1.38% in developing nations. With this insight, Carnival Internet took the outside in approach of taking high speed broadband first to semi-urban and rural Bangladesh. The aim is to spread connectivity among the underprivileged and thereby assist to decrease the digital divide and inequality among villagers and urban dwellers, men and women in general and promote skill-based training and create new entrepreneurs and job opportunities.
Delivering affordable high speed broadband internet at bitesize packs through system installations in brick & mortar shops at rural locations where crowds usually gather. These traditional shops also function as value aggregators for the community by offering products and services like e-learning vouchers, pick-drop delivery services, micro insurance cards, eDoctor coupons, along with bite-size internet packs, that improve the lives of the members of the communities.
In their bid to provide the true fiber broadband internet to the rural people, they have laid 42,000+ kilometer fiber cable, established 250 POPs and 6 DOs around the country. WiFi Haat has connected 28,000 villages in 61 districts and built 12,000+ Carnival Points all across the country. Additionally, it has created a learning platform through which free and minimally priced skill-based education contents are delivered to Wifi Hut users.
By providing high speed broadband internet through brick-and-mortar shops around the country, WiFi Haat making the lives of rural people better with the following benefits:
■ Bite-size broadband internet vouchers, e-learning vouchers.
■ Pick-Drop delivery points.
■ Micro insurance cards.
■ eDoctor Coupons.