Microsoft partners with Viasat to bring Airband broadband internet to Africa via satellite

Microsoft partners with Viasat to bring Airband broadband internet to Africa via satellite

Microsoft launched the Airband initiative in 2017 with the goal of bringing broadband internet to millions of rural residents who currently lack access. And today, Microsoft announced its new partnership with Viasat, a global communications company that is in place to advance this cause and “provide Internet access to 10 million people around the world, including 5 million across Africa.”

The new partnership will help the Airband initiative move one step closer to its main goal, “to provide Internet access to a quarter of a billion people around the world, including 100 million people on the African continent, by the end of 2025 .”

Viasat will be the first satellite organization to work with Microsoft in the Airband Initiative. They will work closely together to ensure that residents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States can access an affordable and stable internet connection, which is also part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals development. (SDGs). Plans are underway to expand the initiative to Egypt, Senegal and Angola.

Currently, an estimated 2.7 billion people have never had access to the Internet, which is one-third of the world’s population, according to the findings of the International Telecommunication Union at the UN. Accessibility plays a big role in why some people still don’t have access to the internet, but with satellite it will no longer be a hindrance.

According to Microsoft:

By working together, the companies will combine expertise and assets to help enable telehealth, distance learning and education, precision agriculture, clean power and other services to reach new territories through the transformative provision of power and connectivity. The companies will work together to provide and launch technologies including, but not limited to, satellites (both geostationary orbit and low earth orbit) and fixed wireless.

Microsoft’s Vice President of Technology and Corporate Responsibility, Teresa Hutson, said: “We believe that access to the Internet is a fundamental right and that digital skills create and enable economic prosperity for people, businesses and governments. Through our Airband initiative we will bring high-speed Internet access to 100 million people on the African continent and to a quarter of a billion people living in unserved and underserved areas around the world by 2025.”

Viasat’s Global Fixed Broadband President, Evan Dixon further added that:

We are proud to partner with Microsoft as this represents another important step in bringing affordable internet service across Africa, Latin America and the US as both companies continue to break down barriers to bridge the digital divide and bring significant making progress towards digital equality and inclusion. Providing Internet access to the world is a challenging and bold goal, and doing so in a sustainable and responsible way will unlock lasting opportunities for those who need it most.

Microsoft’s Airband Initiative works closely with several partners that provide both Internet and energy access at the local and regional level. Telecommunications, non-profit organizations as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations also play a crucial role and help the initiative to achieve its main objective. This is why the program is currently able to provide high-speed Internet access to more than 51 million people on a global scale.

via GeekWire

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