Microsoft Expands Global Connectivity With Local Startups - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Cloud
News
5/24/2016
02:05 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Expands Global Connectivity With Local Startups

Microsoft is partnering with 12 business around the world to broaden access to Internet and cloud-based services.

Top 10 Highest Paying Tech Companies
Top 10 Highest Paying Tech Companies
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Microsoft has announced plans to partner with 12 global businesses as part of a broader effort to deliver affordable connectivity to all corners of the world.

The company reports 57% of the world is offline. It hopes to "close the digital divide" through a project called the Affordable Access Initiative, which aims to bring Internet to the 4.2 billion people who still don't have it.

The Affordable Access Initiative aims to drive widespread change with local-level partnerships, education, grants, and advocacy. To do this, Microsoft has granted funding to 12 businesses representing 11 countries across 5 continents.

[Read: Inside Microsoft's plan to battle 'terrorist content']

Each grant winner has existing operations in its local community. All recipients will receive funding and support from Microsoft as they work to expand their services in areas where connectivity is lacking.

Most of the winning companies come from remote parts of Africa and Asia. African companies include the African Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED) in Rwanda, Ekovolt in Nigeria, New Sun Road in Uganda, C3/Chitipi in Malawi, and VistaBotswana in Botswana.

Businesses based in Asia include WiFi Interactive Network (WIN) in the Philippines, Kelase in Indonesia, and AirJaldi and Zaya Learning Labs, both of which are based in India.

Representing Europe and the Americas are Movivo in the United Kingdom, Axiom Technologies in the United States, and Tambero.com in Argentina. Microsoft notes it will announce new funding and contribution opportunities in the near future.

The project also relies on a larger network of people to improve worldwide access to technology. A global team of peers and mentors hold yearly summits, monthly virtual meetings, and leverage Microsoft Research and Development team support to share best practices.

Additional resources like Safer Internet, the "public cloud for public good," and educational programs like YouthSpark also contribute to the goal of connecting people around the world.

Microsoft's approach of local engagement is notably different from those of competitors Google and Facebook. Both tech giants have recently announced projects to improve Internet connectivity in remote areas.

(Image: Photogearch/iStockphoto)

(Image: Photogearch/iStockphoto)

In November 2015, Google announced Project Loon, an effort to bring Internet to developing areas of Indonesia with giant floating balloons that would function as wifi hotspots. Indonesia's top mobile network operators agreed to begin testing in 2016 over parts of Indonesia, where 1 in 3 people is connected to the Internet.

Google SkyBender, a second project from the search giant, aims to deliver 5G wireless Internet using solar-powered drones that will deliver connectivity using mmillimeter wave transmission technology. The initiative is undergoing development by the same team behind Project Loon.

Several years ago, Facebook announced a Connectivity Lab to deliver Internet to everyone around the globe using satellites, drones, and lasers. The company also aims to bring basic Internet to everyone worldwide using Internet.org.

This isn't the only major philanthropic move we've seen from Microsoft this year. In January, the company announced its new Philanthropies organization would donate $1 billion of Microsoft Cloud Services to help nonprofits and university researchers over a three-year time period.

The three major goals of Microsoft's philanthropic move are to give more cloud resources to nonprofit organizations, increase access for researchers, and address challenges with last-mile Internet connectivity.

Get Your Dream Job. Use InformationWeek's hosted, searchable job board to land your next gig in tech. Start your search here.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Commentary
Study Proposes 5 Primary Traits of Innovation Leaders
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/8/2019
Slideshows
Top-Paying U.S. Cities for Data Scientists and Data Analysts
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/5/2019
Slideshows
10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/1/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Video
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
Slideshows
Flash Poll