Microsoft and Viasat bring connectivity to underserved communities

Elly Yates-Roberts
Elly Yates-Roberts
By Elly Yates-Roberts on 16 December 2022
Microsoft and Viasat bring connectivity to underserved communities
Unsplash/Kojo Kwarteng

Microsoft and communications firm Viasat have partnered to bring internet connectivity to 10 million people around the globe, including five million in Africa, as part of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative.

The programme aims to democratise access to affordable internet and digital skills. Through it, Microsoft and Viasat will deepen Airband’s work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Guatemala, Mexico, and the USA, as well as expanding the programme to Egypt, Senegal and Angola. 

“We believe access to the internet is a fundamental right and that digital skills create and enable economic prosperity for people, businesses and governments,” said Teresa Hutson, vice president of technology and corporate responsibility at Microsoft. “Through our Airband Initiative we will extend high-speed internet access to 100 million people on the continent of Africa and to a quarter of a billion people living in unserved and underserved areas across the world by 2025. 

“Working with Viasat, we will use satellite to reach remote areas that previously have had few, if any, options for conventional connectivity. Together, we will be able to rapidly scale and expand Airband’s reach, exploring a wider pipeline of projects and new countries where we haven’t yet worked.”

The two organisations will combine expertise and assets to help enable telehealth, distance learning and education, precision agriculture, clean power, and other services. 

“We’re proud to partner with Microsoft as it represents another important step in bringing affordable internet service across Africa, Latin America and the USA, as both companies continue to break down barriers to bridge the digital divide and make significant progress toward digital equity and inclusion,” said Evan Dixon, president of global fixed broadband at Viasat. “Providing internet access to the world is a challenging and bold goal, and doing so in a sustainable and responsible manner will unlock enduring opportunities for those who need it most.”
 

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