Microsoft funds firms to expand internet access

Microsoft Headquarters
Microsoft Headquarters

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MICROSOFT has announced it has awarded  Affordable Access Initiative grants to 12 entrepreneurial businesses to  help scale their solutions and business models to increase affordable  Internet access in communities around the world.

Each company will receive seed grants and resources including BizSpark  tools such as free software, services and technology support to help  extend the reach of their hardware, applications, connectivity and power  solutions.

Tuesday’s news marks progress on the commitments Microsoft made earlier  this year to invest $1 billion to bring the power of cloud technology to  serve the public good, including through expanding the availability of  affordable broadband services, new commercial partnerships and expanded  philanthropic programmes.

“With more than half of the world’s population lacking access to the Internet, connectivity is a global challenge that demands creative problem  solving,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business  development at Microsoft.

“By using technology that’s available now and partnering with local  entrepreneurs who understand the needs of their communities, our hope is  to create sustainable solutions that will not only have impact today but  also in the years to come.”

Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative aims to democratize access to the  Internet through grants, commercial partnerships, connecting new leaders  and community engagement. Grant recipients are already addressing a range
of challenges that take advantage of last-mile access technologies such as  TV white spaces, and their business models also demonstrate the ability to  scale up and be market-sustained.

Grant recipients are based across five continents in 11 countries-  Argentina, Botswana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Nigeria, Philippines,  Rwanda, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States.

To further empower people and organisation in communities benefiting from  the Affordable Access Initiative, Microsoft Philanthropies will make  digital literacy, online safety and computer science education programs
available through its global YouthSpark initiative, as well as cloud  product donations and training for nonprofits.

CAJ News

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