The Need

Governments, Civil Society Organizations and Businesses around the world have initiated multiple efforts to improve broadband adoption around the world. No one is systematically analyzing this information empirically for what works. 1 World Connected seeks to consolidate, extend, and share information about these efforts by collecting and disseminating case studies on practices that have proven effective in improving broadband adoption, and conducting empirical evaluations of grassroots connectivity projects.

The existence of multiple initiatives focusing on improving connectivity (including the IEEE Internet Inclusion Initiative, ISOC’s Community Grants Programs and Beyond the Net Grants Initiative, World Economic Forum’s Internet for All, IGF’s Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion, just to name a few) makes it important to understand what makes our work distinctive. Some organizations are studying Internet connectivity at a very high level, while others are involved in grassroots level implementations. Synthesizing and sharing data on what works to inform policy and help other connectivity projects is the missing link, where 1 World Connected’s contribution is unique.

Who We are

1 World Connected is a research project of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition at the University of Pennsylvania. The project is led by Professor Christopher Yoo, the center’s founding director and John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Information and Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania’s Law School. Research fellows working on the project at the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition are Sharada Srinivasan and Dr. Muge Haseki.

How We Work

We are looking at all initiatives, ranging from innovative technical deployments using unlicensed spectrum, TV White Spaces and community networks, as well as local content and digital literacy programs. We surveyed a wide range of publicly available sources for these candidates, including the Internet Society’s Community Grants Program, candidates from the Affordable Access Initiatives and USAID and World Bank initiatives. We also reached out to various academic as well as civil society networks and crowdsourced some data. We compiled a preliminary database of case study candidates which is available online on a Google sheet here.

Our methodology includes a compilation of case studies from secondary sources and interviews to expand on our information from secondary sources before publication as a case study. Case study candidates are also encouraged to write to us to update their information regularly through our website, and we will update this information on our website for the duration of the project.

The second stage involves empirical data gathering on these projects to conduct evaluations where possible.

Who We Hope to Impact

A systematic compilation of all initiatives to connect the unconnected has the capability to be useful to governments and other organizations who are interested in implementing or funding such initiatives. Spotlighting efforts made by various stakeholders, and providing an empirical basis for the success or failure of initiatives funnels investment in the right directions, leading to enhanced outcomes for the investment that is being made across the world in Internet deployment.

Policy on Use of Data

We use case studies to share experiences about different initiatives’ approaches to improving Internet adoption. We disseminate this information widely through various channels, including brochures, opinion articles, news interviews, radio and television outlets, blog posts as well as reports and academic publications. We do not make money from the publication of this information.

We will publish not only case studies that show success, but also highlight the lessons learned from failures where possible. Our commitment to academic integrity ensures that we will make all information that we can potentially make available accessible on our website to everyone. In unique circumstances where case study candidates do not wish to divulge some information for reasons of security or threat to their person, we will respect that.

Relationship with the Dynamic Coalition on Innovative Approaches to Connecting the Unconnected

1 World Connected is working in conjunction with the dynamic coalition under the aegis of United Nations Internet Governance Forum. Professor Christopher Yoo of 1 World Connected is one of the conveners of the dynamic coalition. The other conveners of the dynamic coalition are Helani Galpaya (LIRNEasia), Michael Kende (Internet Society), and Rajan Mathews (Cellular Operators Association of India).


We accept financial contributions from all interested parties to this endeavor, including individual donations, corporate sponsorship and grants. The three-year project is presently supported by American Tower, AT&T, Cellular Operators Association of India, Comcast, Disney, Facebook, Intel, ICANN, Internet Society, ITI, Microsoft, and Verizon. Regional NGOs that are already conducting empirical studies have agreed to support the project in different ways, including LIRNEasia (doing work in South Asia, Myanmar, and Africa), Research ICT Africa (working in Africa) and DIRSI (in Latin America). We partner with IEEE’s Internet Inclusion Initiative, World Economic Forum’s Internet for All, and USAID to advance common aims.