A new cooperation between Microsoft’s Airband Initiative and Viasat has been revealed in order to provide internet access to ten million people worldwide, including five million people in Africa.
The first satellite partner for Microsoft’s Airband Initiative is the international communications company Viasat. Together, they will advance the program’s work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States while prioritizing its expansion in Senegal and Angola to bring much-needed internet access, frequently for the first time.
This groundbreaking international cooperation for Airband is a crucial step toward achieving the Initiative’s extended objective of providing internet connectivity to 250 million people worldwide by the end of 2025, including 100 million individuals on the continent of Africa.
The International Telecommunication Union of the UN estimates that 2.9 billion people, or 37% of the world’s population, have never utilized the Internet. Remote locations that previously had few, if any, choices for conventional connectivity can now access the internet thanks to satellite. Together, the businesses will pool their resources and expertise to help telemedicine, online education, clean energy, precision agriculture, and other services reach new audiences through the revolutionary delivery of connectivity and electricity. The businesses will work together to develop and test technologies, such as fixed wireless and satellites (both in geostationary orbit and low earth orbit, or LEO).
Even though Africa has a wealth of possibilities, one of its obstacles is expanding its infrastructure, which would speed up the digital transformation and enable a connected Africa. To hasten the adoption of digital technologies and the digital transformation, essential infrastructural enablers are required. In order to speed up broadband connectivity for rural populations, the Airband Initiative is essential, according to Kunle Awosika, Managing Director of the Africa Transformation Office.
A third or so of the world’s population lacks online access to resources like education, better healthcare, economic opportunities, family connections, and more. Additionally, the majority of this population is concentrated in just 20 nations in Africa and the Global South. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations include universal, affordable internet access, and Microsoft and Viasat are working to provide connectivity and digital literacy for improved healthcare, education, and economic opportunity in crucial markets by concentrating a large portion of their new partnership on Africa.
We feel it is equally crucial that it be done in a way that is sustainable, responsible, and inclusive, as connecting the world is a broad and difficult goal “Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO of Viasat, stated. “The goal of Viasat is to responsibly use space as a shared resource to advance humanity while maintaining its safety and accessibility for all. As both businesses continue to smash down barriers to close the digital divide and make significant advancements in the direction of digital equity and inclusion, the partnership with Microsoft is yet another crucial step in bringing affordable internet service across Africa, Latin America, and the United States.
More than 51 million individuals have already received high-speed internet connection through Airband thanks to Microsoft, including over 4 million in underserved rural areas of the US and an additional 47 million in 16 underdeveloped nations outside of the US. Microsoft’s Airband Initiative was established in 2017 with the goal of advancing global access to affordable internet and useful digital skills. It does this through collaborations with local and regional internet and energy access providers, telecom equipment manufacturers, nonprofits, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Because it provides access to education, information, and the satisfaction of personal needs, Microsoft thinks that everyone should have access to the Internet.
Global communications business Viasat is a pioneer in satellite communications technologies and services, committed to ensuring that everyone can connect safely and easily. Unserved and underserved villages are now being connected via Viasat, many of them for the first time.
In order to bring improvements in satellite connection and further Microsoft’s aim to link everyone, wherever on the planet, this cooperation builds on the already-existing partnership between Viasat and Microsoft Azure Space.