Over the years, Brazil has witnessed a substantial rise in internet penetration, particularly in rural areas that have traditionally lagged urban regions in terms of internet access. This development is reshaping the digital divide in the country, paving the way for new opportunities for digital courseware providers and other e-learning solutions.

At a Glance

The internet penetration rate in Brazil increased to 75.3% in 2023, up from 70.5% in 2022. It also increased steeply from 67% to 81% between 2016 and 2021 according to the World Bank. This growth has been fueled by a blend of government initiatives, infrastructure development, and the increasing affordability of internet services. However, despite these advancements, a digital divide persists, particularly in terms of the quality of internet access and digital literacy levels.

The statistics reveal a tale of rapid growth and untapped potential. With an internet penetration rate of 75.3%, Brazil is home to over 160 million internet users. This number is projected to grow as initiatives aimed at increasing internet access in rural areas continue to take effect. Internet usage in remote locations surged from 53% of individuals aged 10 years and over in 2019 to 73% in 2021. Moreover, the e-learning market in Brazil is estimated to reach $3 billion in 2023, growing at a CAGR of 14.6% during the forecast period 2018-2023.

Why It's Important

The surge in internet penetration in Brazil is not merely a matter of numbers. It signifies a shift in the country's digital landscape, with implications for businesses, educators, and policymakers. Brazil’s Ministry of Communications is developing a National Digital Inclusion Plan that will encompass sectors such as education, health, tourism, and agribusiness.

Out of 138,800 Brazilian public schools, 9,400 lack internet access, and over 90 percent of these are in rural areas, despite the overall reduction in the digital divide between urban and rural areas. The plan's initial goal is to connect every school and subsequently enhance the speed and quality of the connection. For digital courseware providers, the evolving digital divide in Brazil presents several opportunities.

Opportunities for Digital Courseware Providers

The evolving digital divide in Brazil offers a unique opportunity for digital courseware providers. As internet access expands, so does the potential market for digital learning resources. Providers who can deliver quality digital courseware that is accessible, localized, and suited to low bandwidth conditions could gain a significant advantage. Moreover, the Brazilian government's commitment to improving internet access and digital literacy presents potential partnership opportunities.

The Brazilian Ministry of Education actively promotes digital education; the 'Connected Education Innovation Policy' encourages the use of digital technologies in public schools. As aforementioned, the Brazilian federal government is also preparing a program to bring broadband internet to all schools in the country by the end of 2026. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the shift towards digital learning.

In addition, SpaceX announced plans to provide internet access to 19,000 schools in rural Brazil. Furthermore, the National Telecommunications Agency approved a pilot project targeting 181 schools for implementing 5G connectivity.

Consider the success of the Brazilian edtech startup, Descomplica. Established in 2011, Descomplica began as an online education platform offering video classes to high school students preparing for Brazil's national college entrance exam. By providing affordable and accessible education resources, Descomplica quickly gained popularity and has since expanded its offerings to include a full online undergraduate program.

In addition to Descomplica, other Brazilian edtech companies like Veduca and Hotmart have also made significant strides. Veduca, one of the first MOOC providers in Brazil, collaborates with top universities to provide free and paid courses to learners, democratizing access to high-quality education. Hotmart, on the other hand, empowers creators to sell their digital products online, providing them with the tools to manage and promote their products.

These examples underscore the potential for digital courseware providers to succeed in the Brazilian market by offering localized, quality content and leveraging the expanding digital infrastructure. The success of Descomplica, Veduca, and Hotmart demonstrates the growing demand for digital learning resources in Brazil and the opportunities that exist for providers who can effectively cater to this demand.

Key Brazilian Digital Courseware Providers

Overview of key Brazilian digital courseware providers

Brand Name




A digital distribution platform, built with solutions for those who wish to buy, promote, or sell online courses, videos, subscriptions, eBooks, etc.

2011 and currently active


A provider of an online educational platform designed to help students throughout their academic journeys. It currently operates in the following categories:

Cursinho e Pré-vestibular Enem: Preparatory courses for the Enem exam, a standardized high school exam in Brazil

Graduação digital: Digital undergraduate courses approved by the Ministry of Education, with micro-certificates

Pós digital: Digital postgraduate courses, completed in as little as six months

Cursos livres: Free courses covering a wide range of topics

Para empresas: Courses designed for businesses to improve operations and skills

2011 and currently active


A platform which offers free online courses for jobseekers to enhance their resumes with relevant skills and certifications. It offers courses in Excel, Finance, product development, and even ecology

2012 and currently active

Future Prospects

The digital divide in Brazil is evolving. As internet penetration increases, the focus is shifting from access to quality and usage. For digital courseware providers, this presents a dynamic and promising landscape. Success in this market will require a deep understanding of the local context, a commitment to improving digital literacy, and the ability to adapt to changing conditions.

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