CrowdRoaming’s ISP-in-the-Box concept is bridging the global digital divide by offering low-income, under-served populations to have access to technology and the Internet. It offers an incentive to those with an Internet connection to sell a portion of their – mostly mobile – connectivity to those who are deprived of or, for whatever reason, not able to acquire a personal Internet account.
ISP-in-the-Box (“Internet Service Provider”-in-the-Box) is a simple and easy to understand business model. It is based on customs and micro-cash models practiced by mass-populations in under-developed regions. It can be compared with street vendors in low-income areas in Asia and Africa who sell cigarettes per piece to their customers instead of per package.
The ISP-in-the-Box model offers every individual with a Wi-Fi Internet connection – be it by enabling the Wi-Fi hotspot functionality on their smartphone or their fixed Wi-Fi connection – to act as vendor and acquire different sets of fixed-price tradable certified ISP-in-the-Box credits from CrowdRoaming.
These credits represent a number of licensed ISP-in-the-Box data packages to be individually sold to ISP-in-the-Box users (the end users) in exchange for the use of their local mobile or fixed Wi-Fi connection. The credits, priced at a small percentage of the retail transaction value, represent income for CrowdRoaming to recoup overhead for providing safe and secure infrastructure.
The transactions between CrowdRoaming and the vendors (resellers) of the packaged licensed credits are done online on the ISP-in-the-Box website. In return the vendors receive an acquired amount of verified credits to be sold to ISP-in-the-Box users who would like to make use of the vendors’ Internet connection.
The vendors resell portions of their package to their customers using the ISP-in-the-Box application on their mobile, tablet or pc. The transaction itself is done offline between vendor and customer and can be in the form of a cash or non-cash transaction.
The transition of credits is done in the safe and secure ISP-in-the-Box application. In a nutshell: the ISP-in-the-Box credits represent a secure tradable commodity for all value chain stakeholders.
After the transition the customer is the owner / end-user of the vendor’s credits. The end-user is now enabled to consume the acquired credits from the vendor’s Internet connection. ISP-in-the-Box ensures the vendor overview of actual data being consumed and offers the end-user a safe, secure and privacy guaranteed connection.
Of course alternatively a customer could also pass on its acquired credits to the accounts of others like his children, enabling them to do their online homework through the above-mentioned connection of the vendor. This option is especially noteworthy for the concerns of low-income populations; they especially value connectivity for its educational necessity.
The need for connectivity
The idea of ISP-in-the-Box finds its origin in personal experiences while working with middle-class software programmers in Kathmandu, Nepal. In their middle-class neighborhoods it is common to share an Internet connection between neighbors. Being connected to the Internet is considered vital for the education of their children. Costs are shared and by doing so these costs are made somewhat bearable.
Low-income families frequently cannot afford such a scheme. They represent the urban mass, a population that can just afford a cheap (used) smartphone but not a connection to the Internet. This population is somewhat blessed in urban areas, where some connectivity is scarcely made available by schools, offices, commercial outlets such as Starbucks or McDonalds, and other inner city hotspots.
In rural areas both middle-class and low-income households are often deprived of any affordable connectivity. Here one frequently finds a limited number of persons who own a smartphone which can be turned into a Wi-Fi-hotspot. ISP-in-the-Box provides the means for turning these isolated hotspots into economically viable and transparent connections to the Internet and can even be an incentive to spread the use of the Internet.
ISP-in-the-Box business model
ISP-in-the-Box offers middle-class city households a method of fair sharing a connection based on usage. In rural areas and to lower-class households ISP-in-the-Box offers an incentive to their potential connectivity brokers, e.g. street corner vendors, a model for reselling affordable connectivity.
Overall ISP-in-the-Box is a commonsense business model for all stakeholders. It offers incentives to those with a Wi-Fi connection to share it and get a return on their investment by selling the connection as a trusted standardized commodity: tradable ISP-in-the-Box credits. The ISP-in-the-Box model offers CrowdRoaming a viable use of its code with a state-of-the-art social and viral business model.