Microsoft's Airband Initiative to Connect 40 Million People in Latin America and Africa.

22 May 2023

Microsoft has announced new and expanded Airband partnerships aimed at providing high-speed internet access to nearly 40 million people across Latin America and Africa. These partnerships in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda signify significant progress in Microsoft's commitment to extending high-speed internet access to 250 million people living in unserved and underserved areas worldwide, including 100 million in Africa.

Limited broadband access in Latin America and Africa hampers digital fluency and skill development, hindering participation in the digital economy. Microsoft considers internet access and meaningful connectivity as fundamental rights and launched the Airband initiative to bring transformative connectivity to underserved communities worldwide. By collaborating with partners, Microsoft aims to enable affordable access to connectivity, with a specific focus on regions with lower digital connectivity rates.
In Latin America, approximately 37% of rural residents have connectivity options, compared to 71% of the urban population. Through collaborations with Wayfree in Guatemala, Fundacion Pais Digital in Chile, Brisanet in Brazil, and Anditel in Colombia, Airband will provide high-speed internet access to 18 million people in the region. Latin America's urban cities and rural areas with cultural heritage sites pose unique challenges to connectivity. Airband and its partners aim to address employment and education issues by strengthening connectivity.

In Brazil, Airband is expanding through a partnership with Brisanet, extending high-speed internet access to over 11 million people and supporting social and economic development in low-income regions. In Chile, Fundación País Digital will expand connectivity to rural and underserved areas in the Biobío and Antofagasta regions, benefiting an additional one million people by the end of 2025. In Colombia, the partnership with Anditel has surpassed its commitment to cover more than 600,000 people in five years, with plans to expand coverage to an additional three million people by 2025. Anditel, in collaboration with the Colombian government's ICT 360 program, aims to achieve 85% connectivity for Colombians by 2026. In Guatemala, Wayfree is deploying wireless access zones and aims to provide high-speed internet coverage to three million people by the end of 2025.

Moving to Africa, Microsoft's efforts on the continent have been longstanding and far-reaching. Despite the rise of many African nations as economic powers, delivering connectivity remains challenging in vast rural areas. On average, Africa has a 40% internet usage rate. Partnerships play a vital role in the success of the Airband model, and Microsoft is building upon existing collaborations in Africa, including with Mawingu and Tizeti.

In Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, Microsoft Airband has partnered with Kenyan service provider Mawingu since 2014 to deliver high-speed internet access to four million people in rural areas. Expanding this partnership will cover an additional 16 million people across the three countries by the end of 2025, reaching a total of 20 million people. Mawingu's connectivity extends to various locations, such as hotspots, vocational schools, and businesses, enabling community members to access digital skills training and education materials. Microsoft and Tizeti's partnership in Nigeria has already provided coverage to over 900,000 people and is now expanding to Cote d'Ivoire, aiming to bring internet access to nearly five million people. In areas with unreliable electricity, the partnership includes infrastructure support and the deployment of solar-powered towers to ensure connectivity to households, small businesses, and hotspots, empowering access to education, healthcare, and employment.
These Airband partnerships with Microsoft empower organizations to create the necessary infrastructure for connectivity support in diverse ecosystems, driving self-empowerment and sustainable development. As technology advances, being connected provides a path forward to empower every individual and organization to achieve more.

Related Post

Viasat and Liquid Intelligent Technologies Sign MoU to Explore B2B and B2C Service Opportunities in West Africa.
Liquid Dataport, a business of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, a pan-African te...
Leading Financial Institutions Back E3 Capital and Lion's Head's Low Carbon Economy Fund in Africa.
E3 Capital and Lion’s Head Global Partners have made an initial announceme...
AFC and JBIC Partner to Drive Green Infrastructure Development in Africa.
Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the leading provider of infrastructure solutio...

Accelerating the growth of Africa's tech ecosystem