Sugarbox enabling digital access to c400 Gram Panchayats
February 23rd, 2023: The planet seems to be blurring lines, when it comes to any digital borders. However, this still seems like a distant dream for many villages in India, where seamless access to digital content and services is still unreliable. And this is where Sugarbox, a hyperlocal cloud start-up is bringing about change for Ranjangaon, a small village 170 kms away from Pune city, with their technology solution at the local Common Service Centre (CSC).
CSC is driving e-Governance deep into the hinterlands of India. Supporting CSC to achieve its objective is Sugarbox, which is working on a mission mode to bridge the digital access divide in the country.
With its recent tech activation in Ranjangaon, Sugarbox now has reached over 110gram panchayats in Maharashtra, essentially making digital access available to approximately 5 lakh population in the state. Sugarbox brings to people the power of the world’s first hyperlocal cloud platform, enabling the last mile users to download or stream a host of cached digital content and services without spending on additional data and at an unmatched speed (even in an unconnected environment). As a result, around 4000 people from the Ranjangaon village can now access content such as e-Governance, e-commerce, entertainment, educational and upskilling content; as well as podcasts and news without incurring any data cost.
“At our village many villagers visiting the CSC centres have connected to the SugarBox wifi services, on their phone, where the younger generation often encourages the whole family to adopt this service. Consuming digital information through the SugarBox services at the CSC centre, without the worry of mobile data connectivity or spending extra (monies), has opened up so many possibilities for all of us. Access to news, podcast, and education content is definitely a step forward for our youth to be influenced positively”, said Jijabai Gajanan Mate, Sarpanch, Ranjangaon.
Sugarbox is decentralizing relevant content stored in data centres far away from the remote user by deploying cloud fragments at the local level, closer to the end-user. Leveraging the local area network to, it creates a hyperlocal Wi-Fi for people to latch on to and access the content cached in their cloud servers.
Rohit Paranjpe, CEO & Co-Founder, Sugarbox, said, “We are solving a very basic problem for villages. While digitalization has accelerated in India, majority of the population is still unable to access digital content. This is often owing to the vastness and complexities of Indian geography, making it difficult and expensive to keep everyone connected all the time. We are addressing this very problem by democratising digital networks and taking content closer to the last mile user. Thus, we are enabling a seamless digital experience for the rural population in a connected, under-connected, and unconnected environment. Through our partnership with CSC, we have been able to cover close to 400 gram panchayats, across seven states. We are happy to extend our services to the village of Ranjangaon. And this is just a small step towards strengthening Digital India, ensuring equitable digital experiences for the remote geographies.”
As per the latest report from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), out of 100 people, there 114 internet subscribers in urban Maharashtra, but only 48 in rural geographies of the state. The digital divide is stark and well below the national average. Low internet penetration essentially means that people in rural Maharashtra either don’t have access to reliable network connectivity or don’t have the wherewithal to access digital services.
While CSC is anchoring the mission to achieve a socially, financially, and digitally inclusive society, Sugarbox has been playing a pivotal role in accelerating its endeavours. With CSC, Sugarbox has deployments in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Bihar and West Bengal.